At Beneficial State Bank, we are striving toward an ideal of Benefit to All, Harm to None.
Throughout this site, you’ll see examples of how we work to equitably serve our communities and work to regenerate the environment on which we all depend.
75%+ Mission Alignment
Our primary focus is to work with businesses and organizations that are mission aligned. In fact, 75% or more of our lending must be mission aligned, improving life for all through:
1) Increased equity and distribution of ownership and control of resources
2) Health and well-being in the broadest sense for all people, in particular under-served communities
3) Health of natural environment: air, water, soil
4) Sustainable management, preservation, and conservation of our natural resources: flora, fauna, and minerals
Committed to 0% Counter Mission
At the same time, none of our lending or deposits may be used to foster contra mission sectors, activities, or business transactions.
As the world changes and our businesses and nonprofits adapt, we recognize that absolutes are rare. With our 75% mission-alignment goal, we aim to primarily support mission-leaders. However, we also support conventional / standard businesses and even laggards IF they are intentionally progressing toward greater mission outcomes.
We use our opportunity as their bank to engage with our portfolio businesses via events, social media, direct outreach, impact measurement, partnerships with B Corp, and other means to inspire and encourage increased social-responsibility.
The products and serves we avoid are:
1) Illegal products and activities in any of our jurisdiction: We are unable to support entities that provide products or activities that are illegal at the Federal level.
2) Weapons: This includes semi-automatic weapons, automatic weapons, accessories that enable rapid-fire capability, as well as entities who sell firearms to individuals that are under 21 or have not passed a universal background check.
3) Predatory lending: We avoid entities that engage in predatory financial services, as defined by the FDIC. This includes unaffordable lending based strictly on a borrower’s assets rather than on the borrower’s ability to repay, loans with excessively high feels, or fraudulent practices to conceal loan obligations. In addition to FDIC standards, Beneficial State Bank considers financial service providers who engage in harmful practices such as loan flipping, inadequate or false disclosure, and charging greater than 36% APR on loan products.
4) Energy sources: This includes, but not limited to, fossil fuel, coal, gas, oil, and other energy sources known to significantly contribute to climate change, pollution, or environmental harm.
5) Resource extraction methods: Example of extractive method industries and supply chains are hard rock mining and hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
6) Prisons, juvenile justice boot camps, or other forms of incarceration or punishment: Due to well-documented abusive practices, widespread injustice, minimal evidence of rehabilitation, and the criminal justice system’s failure to adequately address historic and present racial discrimination, Beneficial State Bank does not provide loans, products or services to any entity involved in this industry. However, we do provide services working to reverse criminal injustice, mass incarceration, and punishment.
7) Other contra mission categories include family farming/industrial agriculture, animal welfare violators, predatory alcohol companies, unhealthy food, any predatory business models, and business transactions that reduce ownership by low-income and under-served communities.
Complex Sectors and Activities
There are many sectors and activities that require deep exploration, as the specific business or activity may not be clearly pro-mission or contra-mission.
Some of our key complex areas are: Food and alcohol, Retail, Real estate, housing and land use, and Finance.
Both pro and contra mission elements are evaluated throughout the sales and lending process. Our sales, credit, executive and impact metrics teams look at each client and each loan. As a learning organization in fast moving times, we are always improving, updating and codifying our decision rules and guidelines.
We encourage others to join us in this commitment to do no harm. As large banks have the opportunity to use their scale to create much good, they also have the opportunity to avoid dragging a train of misery behind this good. We make and promote pledges around these issues, such as our pledge to pay at least 1.5 times the living wage and no less than $15 per hour, and the Paris Pledge to Quit Coal.
Connect with Us
Interested in helping to build a movement in which our banks strive to do no harm?