Ownership Matters

We believe that ownership matters. At the end of the day, it is ownership that drives who benefits from any organization and determines that organization’s priorities, principles and practices. We celebrate a variety of beneficial ownership models — including cooperatives, member credit unions, benefit corporations, and nonprofits — that benefit the community rather than a few individuals. We chose to create a bank owned by a nonprofit foundation.

Our Approach

When Kat Taylor and Tom Steyer founded this bank and bancorp, they said that we needed “to be a catalytic bank. We need to change the banking system for good. The bank model has to work, but it has to be free of the constraints that would otherwise co-opt it into the practices that we don’t want.”

As a result, 100% of the economic rights of our bank belong to our foundation, Beneficial State Foundation, which is a public charity governed in the public interest, permanently. Its bylaws mandate that any profits, when distributed, must go back into the low income communities and/or the environment upon which we depend. It’s a virtuous cycle of reinvestment of profits to the community of depositors that provided capital in the first place. And it eliminates the private shareholder, who would otherwise say, “Where is my maximized return?” That allows us to not just rhetorically keep a triple bottom line of social justice, environmental well-being, and financial sustainability, we ACTUALLY keep it.


How Ownership Translates to Impact

So how does this ownership model translate into real community benefits, even when profits aren’t re-distributed? Below are some of the primary ways — you’ll find examples and details for each throughout the site.

Without individual shareholders seeking to maximize profit at the expense of people and planet, we can

  • Price our products and services to be as affordable and transparent as possible within our own financial means, rather than pricing or structuring to maximize profit.
  • Maximize our sharing of credit card revenues to support mission-aligned nonprofits
  • Develop products that provide alternatives to predatory financial products, rather than supporting these products in the community.
  • Take time and think creatively to support borrowers that contribute to our communities and environment, rather than shying away from good work that is new or complex.

 

Learn More

Interested in our unique ownership model and our work?
Check out our Get Involved page for contact information.