Saturday, March 6, 2010

Responsible Banking

Few of us think much about our bank, other than depositing our checks and then writing checks to shop or pay bills. However in Jeffrey Hollender's book ’How to Make the World a Better Place, A Guide to Doing Good’ he has written a chapter on socially responsible banking. I had never considered choosing a bank as social responsibility before and his position is thought provoking. He cautions that your money, however small the amount of time it is in a bank, is the base used by the bank to run itself, make loans, invest, etc. Since banks are allowed to loan out up to nine times the amount of deposit funds that they hold, this equates to nine times the actual consumer spending power of your money. Once in the hands of the bank... nine times the potential social, environmental, and even economic damage through their choices and activities.

Accordingly, we should all look at what our bank chooses to do with our (their collective) money. I changed banks once I began viewing the policies of my bank; it was racially and socially bigoted and even cruel to ’small’ people. The moral policies were much like those of the 'bad' teacher who only likes the football captain and the cheerleader. They chose to give 'special' lower interest loans to patrons who attended the 'right' church and who were members of the 'right' political party. As I looked further into their activities it was apparent that many of their chosen few were never out of funds, never foreclosed upon, and always granted easy signature loans. I suggest taking an unbiased look at your bank... it is your money after all.

*Get Jeffrey Hollander's book...How to Make the World a Better Place: 116 Ways You Can Make a Difference. It contains some wonderful ideas.