How To Find a Socially Responsible Bank in 2021

If you bank with a traditional bank, your deposits are likely funding activities you don’t support, such as building oil pipelines. If you want your bank accounts to support your values, consider banking with a socially responsible bank. Here is how to start.

SustainFi Updated July 28, 2021

socially responsible banks

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What are socially responsible banks?

Socially responsible banks commit to promoting social or environmental goals, such as financing affordable housing or lending to clean energy projects. Some banks reinforce their commitment to the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit – by becoming certified B Corps or GABV members. Here are the designations to look for if you choose to bank responsibly:

Certified B Corps

Certified by the nonprofit organization B Lab, B Corps are legally required to balance profit and purpose and consider their impact on employees, communities, and the environment. B Corps undergo a rigorous certification process on five categories: corporate governance, worker treatment, impact on the community, impact on the environment, and customer treatment.

Amalgamated Bank is the largest B Corp bank in the U.S. Consumer companies like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s have also been B Corp-certified.

🔔 Check out our list of all B Corp banks in the U.S.

Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) members

You can look for a socially responsible bank through the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). GABV is an independent network of banks that pledge to use finance to deliver sustainable economic, social, and environmental development. GABV includes 65 banks around the world. Each member is assessed annually.

GABV’s U.S. members include Aspiration, Amalgamated Bank, Beneficial State Bank, Decorah Bank and Trust, Lead Bank, Southern Bancorp, and Sunrise Banks.

Many GABV members are also certified B Corps.

Credit Unions

Credit unions are similar to banks in that they offer bank accounts and loan products. However, the ownership structure of credit unions is different. Big banks like Wells Fargo serve both their customers and shareholders. Boosting their share price can get ahead of serving their customers sometimes. Mainstream banks have to make money for their investors by charging higher fees and paying less interest than credit unions.

In contrast, credit unions are nonprofit cooperatives that serve their members. If you open an account at a credit union, you become a member of that union and get to vote on important policy matters.  

Most credit unions restrict membership to a specific population. For example, the Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU) is open to those who work or live in Vermont. The Verity Credit Union is open to Washington residents. If you want to join a credit union, you can check the Credit Union National Association’s locator tool.

Credit unions may still be financing fossil fuels. If that’s important to you, you should double-check the environmental policy of the union you’re interested in.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

CDFIs are accredited institutions that support low-income communities through loans to small businesses, mortgages, and training. They receive the CDFI designation from the Treasury Department and represent 2.5% of the banks and nearly 6% of all credit unions in the U.S.

CDFIs lend to customers with low credit scores and businesses bypassed by mainstream banks. Unlike other lenders, CDFIs are exempt from ability-to-repay requirements. These requirements prohibit lenders from giving loans to people less likely to repay them based on employment status, credit history, income, and other factors. This exemption allows CDFIs to offer loans to underserved populations.

If you are looking to bank with a CDFI, you can find a list here. CDFIs are located in every state and Puerto Rico. Well-known CDFIs include City First Bank in Washington, D.C., and Spring Bank in New York. As with credit unions, CDFIs may still finance fossil fuels, so you should double-check.


Curious what your bank is funding? Check out Mighty Deposits, a site which analyzes public data and tells you what your bank is doing with your money.

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The pros and cons of socially responsible banks

Banking with a socially responsible bank lets you align your savings with your values, get lower fees, earn higher interest, and even learn to spend responsibly.

The pros of socially responsible banks

1. You align your bank account with your values

If the environment is important to you, you may already know that traditional banks lend to fossil fuel projects. According to the Rainforest Alliance 2021 Climate Report, the biggest providers of fossil fuel financing are JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. You can see how your bank scores on fossil fuel financing here. Traditional banks also fund gun manufacturers. Guns Down America rates banks on their funding of the gun industry.

If you choose a responsible, environmentally-friendly bank, your money won’t be going to build new pipelines or fund the gun industry. If the socially responsible bank is a CDFI, you will be supporting the local community and those who can’t get loans from the big banks.

2. You pay lower fees and earn more interest

Socially responsible banks and credit unions have to attract customers from traditional banks. They also don’t have to channel profits to public shareholders. As a result, most socially responsible banks offer free checking accounts. Big national banks charge up to $10-12 per month for checking accounts if you fail to keep a minimum balance in your account.

Annual interest rates on sustainable checking accounts can go up to 1%, much higher than 0.01%, which is the norm for big bank accounts.

3. You spend more responsibly and get extras

Several socially responsible banks offer extras that help you spend more responsibly or donate to charity.

For example, Aspiration offers Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM), which lets you see what impact your spending has on the planet. Aspiration Founder Andrei Cherny describes AIM as a “Fitbit for sustainability.” Their debit card also gives you up to 10% cashback if you shop at sustainable businesses like Tom’s.

Amalgamated Bank will donate half the interest your accounts earn to a charity of your choice. And Ando Money tells you exactly what sustainable activities your deposits are funding through the Impact Center.

The cons of socially responsible banks

Because socially responsible banks are smaller banks, they do have several disadvantages you should be aware of:

1. Limited branch and ATM locations

Mainstream banks like Chase have branches seemingly everywhere. But small banks and credit unions may only have a few branches in their home state. Banks like Aspiration are online-only. If you like going to the branch, some socially responsible banks won’t suit your needs.

Some socially responsible banks also have limited ATM networks. It really depends on the bank, so you should check. On the one hand, responsible banks Aspiration and Quontic Bank have nationwide networks of over 50,000 ATMs. On the other hand, Sunrise Banks only has ATMs at its six branch locations. You may get several free out-of-network ATM withdrawals each month, but you will have to pay to withdraw cash after that.

2. Online and app experience

Mainstream banks have more money to spend on technology, and their apps and websites tend to be more advanced. Many credit unions don’t have an app at all. Bells and whistles like online budgeting tools are typically not provided. There are exceptions to this – Aspiration has a highly rated app that beats most mainstream banks.

How to choose a socially responsible bank

If you want to bank responsibly, you have many choices, from a local CDFI or credit union to a national favorite like Aspiration. What factors should you look for when making this important decision?

1. What are the bank’s socially responsible designation, mission, and values?

If the bank is serious about social responsibility, it probably has a designation from B Corp or GABV or is a certified CDFI. The website should be clear about its impact goals, mission, and values. Banks that don’t finance coal, oil, or gas projects – like Amalgamated Bank, Ando Money, and Aspiration – are typically upfront about that.  

The website may also tell you if the bank has a diverse workforce and management team. For example, 60% of Amalgamated Bank’s employees are women or people of color.

2. What are account minimums, fees, and interest rates?

Most socially responsible banks and credit unions have no monthly minimums and don’t charge checking account fees. (Most do require a minimum deposit, such as $100, to open an account.)

Rates on checking accounts vary from 0.0% to 1.0%. Certain checking accounts offer cash back rewards. Rates on savings accounts can go up to 0.55% (at Quontic Bank).

If you would like to open multiple savings accounts for different goals, make sure the bank offers that. Aspiration only offers one taxable and one retirement account, for example.

3. Does the bank have enough branches and ATMs for your needs?

If you like going to the branch, don’t choose an online-only bank like Aspiration. Many socially responsible banks have a strong regional presence with branches and ATMs in the area.

If you need to make regular cash withdrawals and do not live next to a branch, choose a bank with an extensive ATM network. Aspiration and City First Bank have networks of over 55,000 free ATMs. Quontic Bank’s network exceeds 90,000 free ATMs nationwide. Some banks will reimburse you for several out-of-network withdrawals each month.

If you write checks or use a safety deposit box, make sure your new bank can offer that too. Some free checking accounts come without the ability to write checks. If the bank is online-only, they won’t provide a safety deposit box.

4. How do the bank’s app and online portal stack up?

Small banks and credit unions generally provide a more personalized experience than traditional banks, but they may also lack resources for a top-notch app and online portal. You can check the app’s ratings and online reviews to find out.

Aspiration, Beneficial State Bank, Mascoma Bank, and Quontic Bank offer stellar apps despite being smaller banks with social goals.

Compare socially responsible bank accounts

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The top socially responsible banks

These socially responsible banks are promoting sustainable goals or funding community development.

BankCredentialsSustainFi RatingInterest Rate - CheckingInterest Rate - SavingsATMs in NetworkLocationsBest For
Amalgamated BankB Corp, GABV
4.3
0.175%
0.40%
40,000
New York, Washington, D.C., California
Politically active, fossil-free bank
Ando MoneyB Corp4.10.00%0.17%37,000Online onlyBest if you want to see where your money is invested
AspirationB Corp
4.7
1.00%-55,000
Online only
Best overall
ATMOSB Corp (pending)4.0-0.46%-Online onlyBest if you want to fund green projects
BankPurely-4.10.25%
0.25%
55,000Online onlyBest for planting trees with new account openings
Beneficial State Bank
B Corp, GABV, CDFI
3.1
0.05%
0.10%
37,000
California, Washington, Oregon
Best for California, Washington, Oregon residents
City First Bank / CityFirstBroadway
B Corp, GABV, CDFI
2.50.05%
0.05%
55,000
Washington, D.C.
Community development in the Washington, D.C. area
Climate First BankB Corp (pending), GABV2.90.05%0.05%1,000FloridaBest for Florida residents
First Green Bank
B Corp, GABV
2.2
0.05%
0.05%
1,000
Florida
Best for Florida residents
Mascoma Bank
B Corp
3.2
0.50%
0.01%
28
New Hampshire, Vermont
Best for New Hampshire and Vermont residents
Quontic Bank
CDFI
5.0
1.01%
0.55%
90,000New York, Florida
Best overall
Southern Bancorp
B Corp, GABV, CDFI3.2
0.10%
0.10%
49
Arkansas, Mississippi
Rural community development
Spring Bank
B Corp, CDFI
4.2
0.25%
0.50%
46,000
New York
High-yield savings accounts
Sunrise Banks
B Corp, GABV, CDFI
3.7
1.51%
0.02%
6
Minnesota
Best for Minneapolis residents

Data as of 7/15/2021. Interest rate assumes a $10,000 deposit for comparison purposes.

Read more about each bank on the list:

Amalgamated Bank

CredentialsB Corp, GABV
Impact areasClimate change and sustainability (100% carbon-neutral in operations), immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, criminal justice, workers’ rights, gun safety, and reproductive rights
Minimum balance$0
Account maintenance fees$0
Interest• Online Checking Account: 0.10% on balances up to $2,500; 0.20% on balances over $2,500
• Online Savings Account: 0.40%
ATMs• 40,000 free in-network ATMs nationwide (Allpoint network)
• $1.5 per transaction fee to use out-of-network ATMs
• 2 free out-of-network ATM withdrawals per month
AppLow-rated app
Accounts offered• Checking and savings accounts
• Investment accounts
• IRAs
LocationsNew York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco
Pros• Politically active bank that doesn't fund fossil fuels
• High-yield savings accounts
• “Donate the Change” program donates 10c on each eligible debit card purchase over $10 to a nonprofit
• Give-Back Checking or Savings accounts donate half the interest you earn to an organization of your choice
ConsLow-rated app
Rating4.3 / 5

Review

Founded by a labor organizer in 1923, Amalgamated Bank has long championed access to banking regardless of socioeconomic status. Today it is one of the best-known socially responsible banks with over $4.6 billion in assets. Amalgamated Bank is also the only U.S. socially responsible bank listed on a stock exchange.

Amalgamated Bank is a certified B-Corp and a member of the GABV. It serves labor unions, nonprofits, social enterprises and contributes to political campaigns that align with its values (which are climate-friendly, pro-choice, and pro-workers right to unionize). Amalgamated Bank has over 400 employees, 60% of whom are women or people of color. The bank has also raised its minimum wage to $20/hour.

Following a 2018 merger with San Francisco’s New Resource Bank, Amalgamated Bank has branches in New York, Washington, D.C., and California. Customers can access a network of over 40,000 ATMs nationwide.

Amalgamated Bank is strongly committed to the environment. Its operations are 100% carbon-neutral, and it has pledged not to invest in or lend to fossil fuel companies. The bank also provides hundreds of millions of dollars in solar financing annually.

Amalgamated Bank offers attractive checking and savings accounts, paying up to 0.20% and 0.40% in interest annually. You can open an account online or in-person if you live in New York, Washington, D.C., or San Francisco. Accounts have no minimum balance or monthly maintenance fees.

Unfortunately, the mobile app is disappointing.

Ando Money

CredentialsB Corp
Impact areasClimate change
Minimum balance$0
Account maintenance fees$0
Interest• Ando Spending Account: none
• Ando Savings Account: 0.17% (up to 5.00% on the first $5,000 if you get five friends to sign up)
ATMs• 37,000 free in-network ATMs nationwide (Moneypass network)
• $2.95 per transaction fee to use out-of-network ATMs
App• Apple Store: 4.0 / 5
• Google Play: 4.1 / 5
Accounts offeredChecking and savings accounts
LocationsNone
Pros• A neobank focused on fighting climate change
• Track where your money is invested
• Earn up to 5.00% APY (on the first $5,000) if you invite five friends and they sign up
Cons• No branches
• New bank still trying to figure out customer service issues
Rating4.1 / 5

Review

San-Diego-based Ando Money is an online bank that invests your deposits exclusively in eco-friendly projects like renewable energy or sustainable agriculture. Ando never funds fossil fuels. Ando’s app has an Impact Center, where you can see what activities your deposits are funding. Ando Money was launched to the public in January 2021.

Ando offers no-fee, no-minimum checking and savings accounts. Checking accounts come with a Visa debit card that uses 80% less plastic than typical cards. Customers have access to a network of 34,000 free ATMs.

You can earn up to 5.00% APY (on the first $5,000) if you get five friends to sign up and they become active customers. The standard APY is 0.17%.

Your deposits are FDIC insured for up to $250,000 through Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC.

🔔 Read a comprehensive review of Ando Money here.

Aspiration

CredentialsB Corp
Impact areas• Poverty, water, education, environment, health, human rights
• Aspiration Opportunity Fund provides microloans to small businesses
Minimum balance$0
Account maintenance fees• Aspiration account: pay what you want
• Aspiration Plus account: $7.99/month ($5.99/month if you pay upfront for the year)
Interest• Aspiration account: none
• Aspiration Plus account: 1% on balances up to $10,000 if you spend $1,000/month (0.25% if you spend less than $1,000/month); 0.10% on balances over $10,000 irrespective of spending
ATMs• 55,000 free in-network ATMs nationwide
• 1 free out-of-network ATM withdrawal per month for Plus accounts

AppHighly rated app
Accounts offered• Checking and savings accounts
• Taxable investment accounts
• IRAs
LocationsOnline-only
Pros• Strong commitment to socially responsible banking
• High-yielding Save account (particularly for balances under $10,000)
• Great app and online experience
• A mutual fund that doesn't invest in fossil fuels
• Personal impact score based on your spending
• Aspiration donates 10% of every $1 in fees
• Planet Protection option: Plus account offers automatic offsetting of carbon emissions for each gallon of gas you purchase
• Cash-back on Conscience Coalition (includes TOMS, Warby Parker, and Blue Apron) purchases: 3-5% for basic accounts, up to 10% for Plus accounts
• “Plant your change” opt-in program rounds up your spending to plant trees
Cons• Must pay for the Spend & Save account to receive interest
• APY on balances over $10,000 drops to 0.10%
• No branches
• No cash deposits
Rating4.7 / 5

Review

Founded by Andrei Cherny in 2013, Aspiration is an innovative online bank with social goals. Prior to founding Aspiration, Cherny worked for Bill Clinton and Al Gore, focusing on climate and economic opportunity issues.

Aspiration’s mission is to help customers “make money while making the world a better place.” It’s the only financial institution that lets you pay what you think is right for basic checking account services. Aspiration also donates 10% of fees to nonprofits helping Americans in need. And you can be sure that none of your money goes to fund fossil fuels.

Aspiration offers checking and savings accounts, a recently launched credit card, IRAs, investment accounts, and a fossil free mutual fund. But it’s the cool extras that make Aspiration shine. As an Aspiration customer, you get a sustainability score of your spending habits, cash back when you spend at sustainable businesses such as TOMS, carbon offsets when you buy gas, and the option to plant trees by rounding your change to the nearest dollar.

Although the pay-what-you-want basic checking account doesn’t earn interest, you get up to 1.00% for the first $10,000 you deposit in the Aspiration Plus account. (Aspiration Plus costs between $5.99 and $7.99 per month, depending on whether you pay monthly or annually). Interest gets less attractive (0.10%) on deposits over $10,000.

Side note: Aspiration is technically a broker-dealer, not a chartered bank. However, Aspiration partners with banks to ensure your deposits are FDIC-insured.

🔔 Read a comprehensive review of Aspiration.

ATMOS Financial

CredentialsB Corp, 1% for the Planet
Impact areasClean energy financing
Minimum balance$0
Account maintenance fees$0
InterestUp to 0.51%
ATMsNone
AppNA
Accounts offeredUp to six savings accounts
LocationsNone
Pros• 100% of deposits fund climate-positive infrastructure
• No minimum balance
• No account maintenance or overdraft fees
• Attractive APY
• See the carbon impact of your money
• Donate to nonprofits through your account
Cons• No branches
• No checking accounts, no card, no ATM network
Rating4.0 / 5

Review

Launched in January 2021 by Ravi Mikkelsen and Pete Hellwig, ATMOS Financial offers up to six FDIC-insured, high-yielding savings accounts. ATMOS makes sure that your deposits go to fund clean energy projects, not fossil fuel companies.

At the moment, ATMOS works with its partner, Evolve Bank & Trust, to send your deposits to various FDIC-insured banks, making sure that your deposits are only funding climate-positive projects. Going forward, ATMOS will be sourcing and lending to its own projects, such as rooftop solar, regenerative agriculture, and electrification. Once your deposits are placed, ATMOS will show you the carbon impact of your balances.

ATMOS offers up to six savings accounts for various life events and purchases like electric vehicles, college, kids, etc. Rates on these accounts are more attractive than what you would typically get from traditional banks, especially if you opt to make a donation and get a donation bonus.

ATMOS will add 0.11% to your savings rate when you make monthly recurring donations to at least one ATMOS-approved nonprofit, such as 1% for the Planet. With a donation, you can get up to 0.51% APY if you deposit over $25,000. Compare this to the 0.01% APY many traditional banks offer. APYs for smaller deposits are also attractive.

Neobanks such as ATMOS can offer higher rates on savings accounts because they don’t have to support brick and mortar branches or a legacy tech platform.

🔔 Read the complete review of ATMOS.

BankPurely

CredentialsNA
Impact areasClimate change
Minimum balance$0 ($100 to open an account)
Account maintenance fees$0
Interest• CheckingPurely: 0.25%
• SavingPurely: 0.25%
• Money market: 0.50% (requires a $25,000 minimum balance)
• PurelyCDs (12-month): 0.55% (requires a $1,000 minimum deposit)
ATMs• 55,000 free in-network ATMs nationwide
AppLow app rating
Accounts offered• Checking and savings accounts
• Money market accounts
• Certificates of deposit
LocationsNone
Pros• One tree will be planted for every SavingPurely account opened
• Competitive APYs
Cons• No branches
• Low app rating
• No certifications like B Corp or GABV
Rating4.1 / 5

Review

Bank Purely is an online bank created for consumers who care about the environment. It’s a division of Flushing Bank, a community bank based in New York. The bank will plant one tree in New York State for each savings account opened, including certificates of deposit. (It is working with nonprofit Plant-It 2020.)

The bank offers checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposits, all with competitive rates. Checking accounts come with a MasterCard debit card, and the ATM network of 55,000 locations is wide. There are no fees and no minimums, except the $100 opening deposit.

Deposits are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000.

However, BankPurely has not publicly committed to not funding fossil fuels, nor has it joined any socially responsible certification programs that would keep it accountable.

🔔 Read the review of BankPurely.

Beneficial State Bank

CredentialsB Corp, GABV, CDFI
Impact areasSocial justice, the environment
Minimum balance$0
Account maintenance fees• eChecking: $0
• Checking: $0 (with a $500 average balance, otherwise $5/month)
• Interest Checking: $0 (with a $2,500 average balance, otherwise $10/month)
• Savings: $0 (with a $200 average balance, otherwise $5/month)
Interest• Interest Checking account: 0.05% on balances up to $100,000; 0.10% on balances over $100,000
• eCHecking and Checking accounts: none
• Savings account: 0.10%
ATMs• 37,000 free in-network ATMs nationwide (Moneypass network)
• $2.5 per transaction fee to use out-of-network ATMs
AppLow-rated app
Accounts offered• Checking and savings accounts
• Money market accounts
• Certificates of deposit
• IRAs
LocationsCalifornia, Washington, Oregon
Pros• Socially responsible bank with GABV, B Corp, and CDFI credentials
• Beneficial State Foundation advocates for socially responsible banking and administers the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program
Cons• Low-rated app
• Low interest
• No extras
Rating3.1 / 5

Review

Founded in 2007 in California, Beneficial State Bank (BSB) offers savings and checking accounts online and via an app. The bank has just launched a credit card, too. BSB has over $1 billion in assets.

BSB is a certified B Corp, a member of the GABV, and a certified CDFI. It’s majority-owned by the Beneficial State Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization that advocates for responsible banking and runs the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program. Bank profits have to be distributed to the Foundation.

Unlike Amalgamated Bank or Aspiration, BSB doesn’t offer any extras, investment funds, or credit cards. Its app is basic and has a low rating in the iTunes store. Interest on checking and savings accounts is low compared to other socially responsible banks.  

Still, it’s a solid option for Pacific Northwest residents who are looking for basic savings and checking accounts from a socially responsible bank.

City First Bank (CityFirstBroadway)

CredentialsB Corp, CDFI
Impact areas• Underserved communities
• Affordable housing
• Closing the racial financial gap
Minimum balance$0 ($100 deposit to open)
Account maintenance fees• Regular Personal Checking: $0 (with e-statements)
• Personal Interest Checking: $0 (with a $500 average balance, otherwise $8/month)
• Personal Savings: $0 (with a $200 average balance, otherwise $2/month)
• Personal Money Market: $0 (with a $1,000 average balance, otherwise $8 / month)
Interest• Personal Interest Checking: 0.05%
• Personal Interest Savings: 0.05%
• Personal Money Market: 0.10%-0.15%
ATMs55,000 free in-network ATMs nationwide including Citibank ATMs
AppThe app doesn't have many ratings
Accounts offered• Checking and savings accounts
• Money market accounts
LocationsWashington, D.C.
ProsSupport for community development in the Washington, D.C. area
Cons• Low APY
• No extras
• Unpopular app
Rating2.5 / 5

Review

City First Bank is the only bank focused on community development in Washington, D.C. The bank is a certified B Corp and a CDFI focused on underserved communities and affordable housing. Around 80% of its loan portfolio is in real estate and business loans for projects and businesses located in low-income D.C. neighborhoods. Over the past 20 years, the bank has financed over 7,660 affordable housing units and helped create or retain almost 18,300 jobs.

In April 2021, City First Bank merged with Broadway Financial Corporation (CFB). Now known as CityFirstBroadway, it’s the largest black-led depositary institution in the U.S., with over $1 billion in assets.  

City First Bank offers checking, savings, and money market accounts. Interest on its checking and savings accounts is at the low end (0.05% on both), but you could still choose City First Bank to support community development in the Washington, D.C. area.

Climate First Bank

CredentialsB Corp (pending), GABV
Impact areasClimate change
Minimum balance$0
Account maintenance fees• Checking: $0
• Interest Checking: $15 / month (waived with a daily minimum balance of $2,500)
• Savings: $5 / month (waived with a daily minimum balance of $200)
• Money market: $15 / month (waived with a daily minimum balance of $5,000)
Interest• Checking: none
• Interest checking: up to 0.15%
• Savings: up to 0.10%
• Money market: up to 0.30%
ATMsOver 1,000 Presto! ATM locations at Publix stores
AppApple Store Rating: 5 / 5 (2 reviews)
Accounts offered• Checking and savings accounts
• Money market accounts
• Health savings accounts
• Certificates of deposit
• IRAs
LocationsSt Petersburg, Florida
Pros• A carbon-neutral bank that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels
• Solar and electric/hybrid vehicle loans offered
Cons• Very low APYs
• No interest on the no-fee checking account
• A single branch
• The ATM network is Florida-based
Rating2.9 / 5

Review

Climate First Bank is a newly launched bank focusing on environmental sustainability. Based in St Petersburg, Florida, the bank is a member of the GABV and is waiting to be certified as a B Corp.

Climate First has committed to being carbon neutral and never investing in oil and gas extraction. As part of its climate mission, Climate First offers auto loans for electric and hybrid vehicles as well as solar loans.

The bank is led by veteran banker Ken LaRoe, who previously launched and sold First Green Bank, also in Florida.

Climate First offers checking and savings accounts, money markets accounts, certificates of deposits, and IRAs. Any account will also give you access to Climate First’s budgeting tools.

🔔 Read the comprehensive review of Climate First Bank.

First Green Bank

CredentialsB Corp, GABV
Impact areasThe environment (solar loan program, discounted loans for green buildings)

Minimum balance$0
Account maintenance fees• Be Green Checking: $0
• Be Green NOW Checking: $0 (with a $1,500 balance, otherwise $15/month)
• Sustainable Savings: $0 (with a $300 balance, otherwise $5/month)
Interest• Be Green NOW Checking: 0.05%
• Sustainable Savings: 0.05%
ATMsOver 1,000 Presto! ATM locations at Publix stores
AppNone
Accounts offered• Checking and savings accounts
• Money market accounts
• Certificates of deposit
• Health savings accounts
LocationsFlorida
Pros• Solar loans
• The First Green Foundation supports solar panel installations
Cons• Limited ATM network
• Low APY
• No mobile app
Rating2.2 / 5

Review

Founded in Orlando, Florida, in 2009, First Green Bank is a socially responsible bank that is particularly committed to the environment. It offers discount rates for projects that meet green building criteria, runs electric car charging stations at most branches, and has converted its building for energy efficiency. The bank supports solar panel installation through its loan program and the nonprofit First Green Foundation.

First Green Bank has branches in Winter Park, Mount Dora, Clermont, Ormond Beach, Altamonte Springs, and Fort Lauderdale. The ATM network is limited to about 1,000 locations in Publix stores.

First Green bank doesn’t offer credit cards, a mobile app, or any bells and whistles. The interest rate on its Be Green NOW checking account and savings account is also relatively low. However, you should consider First Green Bank if you are a Florida resident and want to support the local green economy.

Mascoma Bank

CredentialsB Corp
Impact areas• Affordable housing
• Community development
• Mascoma Bank Foundation gives money to community projects in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine
Minimum balance$0 ($10 deposit to open an account)
Account maintenance fees• MORE Checking: $0 (with e-statements and direct deposits, otherwise $5/month)
• My Checking: $0 (with e-statements and direct deposits, otherwise $10/month)
• Relationship Gold Checking: $0 (with a $1,500 daily balance, otherwise $14.99/month)
Interest• MORE Checking: 0.50% on balances up to $25,000; 0.10% on balances over $25,000
• Relationship Gold Checking: 0.01%
• Statement Savings: 0.01%
ATMsAt 28 Mascoma branches only
AppHighly rated app
Accounts offered• Checking and savings accounts
• Money market accounts
• Certificates of deposit
• Health savings accounts
LocationsNew Hampshire, Vermont, Maine
Pros• High-yielding checking account option (MORE Checking)
• Highly rated app
Cons• No ATM network outside of branches
• Very low interest on the savings account
• No fancy extras
• Low interest on checking and savings accounts other than MORE Checking
Rating3.2 / 5

Review

Mascoma Bank is a B Corp with branches in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. It’s been providing community financing in the area for over 100 years. A socially responsible bank, Mascoma Bank donates 10% of pre-tax income to charity.  

The bank provides checking and savings accounts, mortgages, and personal loans. The MORE Checking account is particularly attractive. The $5/month fee is waived if you opt in for e-statements and set up a direct deposit. You will earn 0.50% in interest for up to $25,000 deposited in the account (it drops to 0.10% on deposits over $25,000.)

Mascoma Bank also offers a highly rated app.

However, the bank’s checking and savings accounts (other than the MORE Checking account) pay very low interest. Also, Mascoma Bank doesn’t belong to any ATM network, so if you regularly withdraw cash and don’t live next to a branch, it may not be the best option for you.

Quontic Bank

CredentialsCDFI
Impact areas• Affordable housing
• Community development
• Helping small businesses in the New York City area
Minimum balance$0 ($100 deposit to open)
Account maintenance fees$0
Interest• High-Interest Checking: 1.01% (requires 10 debit card transactions)
• High Yield Savings: 0.55%
ATMs90,000+ free in-network ATMs
AppHighly rated app
Accounts offered• High-yielding checking and savings accounts
• Bitcoin Rewards Checking account (get 1.5% of in-store or online debit card purchases back in bitcoin)
• Cash Rewards Checking account (get 1.5% of in-store or online debt card purchases back in cash)
• Money market accounts
• Certificates of Deposit
LocationsNew York
Pros• Very competitive APY and CD rates
• CDFI
• Low minimum deposit ($100)
• Highly-rated app and a great online experience
• Access to 90,000+ free ATMs
• No service fees
Cons• 1 branch location in Queens, New York
• $35 overdraft fee
• $10 monthly inactivity fee (after 1 year of no transactions)
• No cash deposits (unless you visit the New York branch)
Rating 5 / 5

Review

Headquartered in Queens, New York, Quontic bank is a digital bank and a certified CDFI. It was started by serial mortgage entrepreneur Steven Schnall with the mission of lending to low-income businesses and communities. Seeing the fallout from the mortgage crisis, Schnall bought a small bank in Long Island and grew it by lending to immigrants, small business owners, gig economy workers, and people who fall outside the traditional banking approach.

Quontic offers some of the highest rates on checking and savings accounts, including 1.01% on the High Interest Checking Account and 0.55% on the High Yield Savings Account. Certificate of Deposit rates are also very attractive.

Besides high-yield checking and savings accounts, Quontic offers a top-notch digital app.

The ATM network is also excellent: Quontic offers access to over 90,000 free nationwide ATMs.

🔔 Read a comprehensive review of Quontic Bank.

Southern Bancorp

CredentialsB Corp, GABV, CDFI
Impact areasRural community development
Minimum balance$0 ($100 deposit to open)
Account maintenance fees• Freedom Checking: $0 (with e-statements)
• Lifestyle Account: $0 (with e-statements)
• Personal NOW Account: $0 (with a balance over $600, otherwise $8/month)
• Opportunity Card: $5/month
• Classic Gold Account (must be over 50 years old): $0
• Regular Savings: $0 (with a balance over $50, otherwise $5/month)
• School Savings: $0
• Christmas Savings: $0
Interest• Interest Checking accounts (Personal NOW Checking, Southern Club): 0.10%
• Savings: 0.10%
ATMsAt 49 branches
AppMediocre app
Accounts offeredChecking and savings accounts
LocationsArkansas, Mississippi
Pros• Socially responsible bank with multiple credentials
• Supports rural community development
Cons• No ATM network except branches
• Relatively low interest
• Low-rated mobile app
• No fancy extras
Rating3.2 / 5

Review

With $1.6 billion in assets and over 65,000 customers, Southern Bancorp is one of the South’s largest socially responsible banks. It is a member of the GABV, a B Corp, and a CDFI-certified institution. It primarily serves rural communities in the mid-South.

Southern Bancorp offers checking and savings accounts and personal loans. They pay a relatively low interest of 0.10% for both interest checking and savings accounts. Southern Bancorp is not part of any ATM networks, so if you want to withdraw cash, it’s easier if you live in Arkansas or Mississippi, where Southern has 49 branches. Both online and mobile banking are offered, though the app is not highly rated.

Spring Bank

CredentialsB Corp, CDFI
Impact areasHelping underserved communities in New York
Minimum balance$0 (except $500 minimum balance for the Interest Checking Account)
Account maintenance fees• Checking accounts: $0 (with direct deposit and e-statements, otherwise $3 – $3.5/month)
• Savings account: $0 (with a $100 balance, otherwise $5/month)
Interest• Interest Checking: 0.25%
• Savings: 0.50%
ATMs46,000+ free in-network ATMs nationwide (Moneypass and Citibank networks)
AppHighly rated app
Accounts offered• Checking and savings accounts
• Money market accounts
• IRAs
• CD savings accounts
LocationsNew York
Pros• High-yielding savings account
• Highly rated app
• Good ATM network
• Community Chest Savings account: Spring Bank matches a percentage of your savings and donates to a nonprofit
ConsOnly two branch locations
Rating4.2 / 5

Review

A B Corp and a certified CDFI, Spring Bank was established in New York in 2007. It supports low-income communities and underserved businesses in the New York City area. The bank has two branches in New York, in Bronx and Harlem. In fact, Spring Bank was the first bank to base its headquarters in the Bronx in over 25 years.

The bank offers four checking and five high-yield savings accounts, including the Community Chest Savings account, where Spring Bank matches a percentage of your savings and donates it to a nonprofit. The rates on checking and savings accounts – 0.25% and 0.50%– are attractive. Spring Bank also offers IRA, money market, and CD savings accounts. The mobile app is highly rated, and the ATM network is wide.

Sunrise Banks

CredentialsB Corp, CDFI, GABV
Impact areas• Affordable housing
• Diversity and inclusion
• Local community development
• The Impact Deposit Fund supports affordable housing, economic development, small business loans, and education
Minimum balance$0
Account maintenance fees• Key Checking: $0/month
• Rise Checking (no overdraft charges): $3/month (with e-statements, otherwise $5/month)
• Platinum Checking: $0 (with automatic deposits and 15 debit card purchases monthly, otherwise $10/month)
• Simple Savings: $0 (with a $50 balance, otherwise $3/month)
• Advantage Savings: $0 (with a $1,000 balance, otherwise $10 / month)
• Premier Savings: $0 (with a $30,000 balance, otherwise $15 / month)
Interest• Platinum Checking: 1.51% on balances up to $10,000, 0.25% on balances over $10,000 (with automatic deposits and 15 debit card purchases monthly, otherwise 0.01%)
• Thrift Savings: 0.02%
• Advantage Savings: 0.02% on balances up to $1,000, 0.03% on balances up to $10,000, and 0.04% on balances over $10,000
• Premier Savings: 0.02% on balances up to $30,000, 0.03% on balances up to $40,000, 0.04% on balances up to $100,000, and 0.06% on balances over $100,000
ATMsBranches only (6 locations)
AppHighly rated app
Accounts offered• Checking and savings accounts
• Certificates of deposit
• IRAs
LocationsMinnesota (Minneapolis)
Pros• Socially responsible bank with multiple credentials
• Highly-rated mobile app
• High-yielding checking account option for deposits under $10,000
• UChoose Rewards: earn points that can be redeemed at hundreds of retailers nationwide
Cons• No ATM network
• Low yields on savings accounts
Rating3.7 / 5

Review

Serving the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas for three decades, Sunrise Banks has nearly $1 billion in assets and 250 employees. It has a triple socially responsible designation as a B Corp, a certified CDFI, and a member of the GABV.

As a CDFI, Sunrise Banks gives 60% of its loans to distressed communities, focusing on affordable housing, small businesses, and nonprofits. It also aims to reduce the carbon footprint of its loan portfolio in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement.

The bank donates at least 2% of its profit per year and gives employees 40 hours of paid time off to volunteer for causes like Habitat for Humanity.

Sunrise Banks offers four checking accounts, four savings accounts, an IRA, and certificates of deposit. The interest-bearing checking account, Platinum Checking, is the most attractive, offering 1.51% on the first 10,000 deposited and 0.25% after that. Interest on savings accounts is low in comparison.

The bank has a highly-rated mobile app but lacks branches beyond the six located in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area.

Compare socially responsible bank accounts

Monthly fee

 $0

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

Pay What Is Fair

APY

1.01%

APY

0.55%

APY

Up to 1.00%

How to switch to a socially responsible bank

Even if you are very unhappy with your current bank, switching banks is a hassle. You likely use your existing bank account to pay bills automatically, get wages from your employer and may have their checks or a safe deposit box. Unsurprisingly, only 4% of customers switch in a given year.

But with some planning, the transition can be accomplished. Here is the checklist to prepare you for the move:

1. Choose your new bank

By now you should have enough information to pick the best socially responsible bank for you. Be clear about what features are the most important to you. Do you like going to the branch in person? Do you need a state-of-the-art app? Do you want cash back? Do you need a large ATM network?

2. Open your account

Most sustainable banks make the process easy. You just need your photo ID and social security number. Sometimes you have to deposit a small amount of money into your new account when you open it.

3. Move your automatic deposits to your new account

In some cases, you need to link a direct deposit to your checking account to avoid paying monthly maintenance fees. Direct deposits include wage and social security payments. You just have to notify your employer that you’ve changed banks and fill out the form they provide.

4. Make a list of automatic withdrawals from your existing account

Go through your statements and look for automatic bill payments, subscriptions, and recurring payments. These could include:

  • Bills (electric, internet, mobile, insurance, mortgage, rent)
  • Subscriptions (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Spotify, Apple subscriptions)
  • Payment services (Venmo, Apple Pay, or Paypal)

5. Move the automatic withdrawals to your new account

Don’t close your old account straight away and keep a small balance in the account in case there are automatic payments you haven’t transferred.

6. Consider what other services you use your old bank for

If you use checks, you will need to reorder them. You may also need to find a new safe deposit box.

7. Close your old bank account

After a couple of months, it’s safe to close your old account. Don’t forget to transfer all the remaining funds into your new account.


There are many ways to make a difference with your money, from conscious consumerism to ESG investing. Switching to a socially responsible bank should be one of the levers you pull.

🔔 Interested in a socially responsible credit card? Learn about your credit card options.


Methodology

We compared socially responsible banks based on account fees and minimum balances, interest on checking and savings accounts, ATM network quality, app and online portal availability and ratings, customer service feedback, and additional features (if available).