Beneficial State Foundation Perspectives

Our thoughts on changing the banking system for good and building the new economy

Introducing the Equitable Bank Standards

Combining evolving solutions with proven frameworks, the Equitable Bank Standards were created specifically for banks to make it easier for them to increase their social and environmental impact. Whether a bank’s leaders are newly curious about how to operate more responsibly, or they are already recognized for achieving positive outcomes, the Equitable Bank Standards provide a path for banks to support an equitable and regenerative future.

We must reinvent our economy with community prosperity at its core. 
Banks can shift to operate more equitably, committing to benefit their many community stakeholders, above and beyond their shareholders. The Equitable Bank Standards provide a measurable, step-by-step pathway for all U.S. banks to foster transformational change within their communities. This ambition hinges on collaborating with banks to establish equitable practices, policymakers to make those practices law, and the public to demand banking that serves them.

Developed collaboratively, the Standards are a work in — and for — progress. 
The Standards were built in partnership with social impact bankers, finance experts, economic justice advocates, and academic researchers. Incorporating their insights with learning from our partner Beneficial State Bank’s 15 years of triple-bottom-line banking practice, this tool paints an actionable picture of what banking could be.

Join us. 
This is not a certification program. Rather, we invite all banks to find their own starting point and use the Standards to create their own path. To encourage continued improvement over time, the Standards are categorized into three levels: Essential, Emerging, and Industry-Leading.

Those labeled Essential represent standards for operating ethically with the goal of minimizing negative impacts for all stakeholders, including customers, the community, and the environment. The Essential level is a recommended place for banks to start, consisting of practices that should be achievable within two years of consideration.
Beneficial State Foundation aspires to make equitable banking the standard practice in the United States. Together, let’s cultivate equitable banking throughout society so that banking might one day serve all of us.

Review the Equitable Bank Standards and learn more at



The Equitable Bank Standards program is an initiative of the Beneficial State Foundation. The foundation is grateful for the enduring support of the organizations and individuals who collaborated on developing the Equitable Bank Standards. Special recognition goes to Beneficial State Bank, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, James Sullivan, the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, and our external partners who reviewed the Equitable Bank Standards.

Beneficial State Foundation 

Beneficial State Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that works to advance financial justice and impactful systemic change in our communities and in the banking system. The foundation is the founding investor of Beneficial State Bank, a triple-bottom-line certified Community Development Financial Institution, and the administrator of the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program which provides grants and affordable financing to help income-qualified Californians to purchase clean vehicles.