Beneficial State's Mission and Vision
Governance in the public interest requires a mission and vision expressly for the public interest. Beneficial State’s mission and vision are the following:
To change the banking system for good, build prosperity in our communities, and restore the environmental commons through beneficial banking.
To build prosperity in our communities through beneficial banking services delivered in an economically safe and environmentally sustainable manner.
A new economy that is fully inclusive, racially- and gender-just, and environmentally regenerative, powered by a banking industry that: provides access to financial services for all our communities, particularly the traditionally underserved, results in long-term prosperity of responsible consumers, contributes to the sustainability of the environmental commons, is fair to the person with the least bargaining power, and promotes financial system stability. We call this vision Beneficial Banking.
Our Ownership Model
Ownership models in the public interest help ensure governance in the public interest and can take various shapes and forms. In the case of Beneficial State, nonprofit ownership.
All of the economic interest of Beneficial State Bancorp and Beneficial State Bank must be and is owned by nonprofit organizations, with $0 going to profit-maximizing shareholders. At present, Beneficial State Foundation, a nonprofit charity governed in the public interest which reinvests all distributed bank profits back into the communities we serve, owns 100% of common shares. We recognize that to build a just new economy, we must reduce the concentration of wealth and power by supporting diverse and distributed ownership.
Unionization at Our Bank
In March 2020, our employees announced that they will join the Communications Workers of America union, setting a strong example for the rest of the banking industry, which has little unionization and often pays workers very low wages.
The Communication Workers of America (CWA) approached the bank in 2019 seeking to represent the employees of a responsible bank that is pursuing “high road” employment practices as a role model for other banks. The bank signed a neutrality agreement in support of the effort to ensure employees felt empowered to make an independent decision about joining the union.
CWA asked to approach our employees about the possibility of representing them and we welcomed the opportunity for our employees to self-determine if unionizing was right for them.
– Randell Leach, Interim CEO of Beneficial State Bank
In 2019, unionization rates among finance workers were among the lowest in the private sector, with only 1.1% of finance workers unionized. In the broader banking industry, many banks pay below living wages, with one in three bank tellers on government assistance. Beneficial State Bank values its employees and we see unionization as an opportunity for our employees to “have a voice on the job to advocate for themselves, their colleagues, and their customers. It’s the right and fair thing to do” (Desiree Jackson, an Assistant Vice President in Oakland, California).
In March 2020, our employees announced that they will join the Communications Workers of America union – a historic step in Beneficial State Bank’s effort to fight economic imbalances rampant throughout the country’s financial system. We continue to support national efforts to improve working conditions for bank employees.
Mission Driven Governance
At Beneficial State, we are always learning. We seek new information from stakeholders, activists, and social impact banking peers to improve our due diligence process.
Beneficial State Bank’s Mission Principles Committee helps develop mission principles and protocols to ensure that social justice and environmental well-being are considered on a day-to-day basis, with every decision. The committee is comprised of Beneficial State Bank and Foundation staff, from a variety of departments who work together to learn, set, and implement mission guidelines, principles, and policies. These mission elements are incorporated into the bank and foundation’s products and services, procurement with vendors and suppliers, operations, and corporate practices. Our mission principles are also used to guide other internal committees, such as product, credit, pricing, and management. This committee ensures that what we do is aligned with our Beneficial State values, as well as the standards of our banking partners and allies for change.
Learn more about the bank’s mission principles — where it will and will not lend, its pricing and fee structures, approach to mergers and acquisitions, compensation, and more. Check out the pages below to get more details about these principles and decisions translate into social justice.