Bank Standards

As Beneficial State models banking for social justice and environmental wellbeing, we apply our learnings to develop triple-bottom-line banking standards. We collaborate closely with other banks, banking associations, racial equity experts, and financial justice advocates in the development of these standards. All standards are designed with financially marginalized communities at the center.

Equitable Bank Standards

Our newly released Equitable Bank Standards 1.0 can be found here. There you will find a comprehensive list of standards ranging from Essential to Industry Leading in the following categories:

  1. Governance in the Public Interest: Banks must align their financial success with the balanced success of all stakeholders (customers, colleagues, communities, planet, shareholders), especially those who’ve been excluded from the banking system.
  2. Equitable Lending and Investments Policy and Practice: Banks must direct the majority of capital toward commercial loans, consumer loan portfolios, borrowers, and investments that support a regenerative economy that is fully inclusive, racially and gender just, and environmentally restorative. Banks must meet the credit needs of communities served and explicitly strive for loans and investments that do no harm.
  3. Equitable Products and Services Design and Implementation: Banks must apply a mission screen to create positive social and environmental impact at the core of every product or service. They must use an equity lens when designing pricing, terms, disclosures, and trainings, as well as sales and marketing strategies. Bank products must be accessible and priced fairly no matter one’s income or wealth.
  4. Operational Practices: Banks must integrate social and environmental principles and guidelines into all corporate practices, including human resources, procurement, partnerships, and branch operations.
  5. Corporate Citizenship: Banks must exercise their duty to serve the public interest by advocating for the public good. They must ensure that regulation protects both customers with the least bargaining power and the environment. Banks must not advocate for deregulation, and they must be transparent about all of their advocacy.

Through this area of work, we seek to make the following impacts:

  • Banking associations and other standards-setting bodies learning and evolving together to develop and establish industry-wide banking standards.
  • Entities (and people) seeking to align their money with their values use these standards to influence their banks or move their money to more aligned banks.
  • Federal and state banking policy and regulations are developed and improved based on the standards.
  • Banks adopt standards.

Find and download the Standards here!

The first draft of the Equitable Bank Standards will be released soon!

Through our stakeholder engagement process, the standards have evolved quite a bit. However, it will never be perfect.

As we continue to develop the standards, we welcome any ideas and feedback.