Beneficial State Foundation Perspectives

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

Bringing beneficial banking to Santa Rosa

From 2007 to 2010, America experienced the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.  I was working for a small bank that was bought out by a bigger bank during the Recession. I soon found myself feeling dissatisfied with my job.  I enjoyed working with people and helping them with their finances.

I strongly believe that as bankers, two of our critical job functions are to serve the people living in the communities where our branches are located, and to be stewards of our environment.  For this reason, I told myself I would never go back to working for a bank.  Little did I know, a completely different type of bank on the West Coast would soon grab my attention.

After doing some research, I quickly realized Beneficial State Bank was just the type of financial institution I was looking for. I was thrilled to join such a wonderful team within a company that’s truly passionate about serving its stakeholders. I’m also passionate about serving my community, which is perfect for my role as a community engagement point of contact for our North Bay clients. During my free time, I serve on the Board of Directors for Latino Service Providers, a nonprofit organization that provides information and resources for healthcare, mental health services, education, legal support, and other social services to help support Latinx communities. I am also a member of the Hispanic Chamber Young Professionals of Sonoma County.

If you don’t know much about Beneficial State Bank, you’re probably wondering: what distinguishes Beneficial State Bank from other banks?  For one, our triple bottom line business model means we’re focused on more than just making a profit—we also track (and publish) the social and environmental impacts of our lending and corporate practices. We believe the entire banking system can, and should, function in a way that brings a benefit to all, and harms none.  This drive to use business as a force for good is part of the reason why we decided to become a certified B Corporation.  

Here’s what else sets us apart.  Our founders created Beneficial State Foundation, which owns 100% of the economic rights to our Bank. This legally ensures that when we distribute profits from the bank, they can only be distributed to community-focused programs in areas we serve. In 2017, we gave away $460,650 in sponsorship to community programs. The money supports affordable housing, arts and culture, education and youth development, environmental conservation, women and minority owned businesses, and other areas related to our vision of a new economy.

There’s also our lending practice—one of the most important ways financial institutions have an impact in communities. We don’t finance extractive activities (meaning we don’t invest in things like fossil fuel projects, prisons, or immigrant detention centers) and we recently created a Mission Principles Committee to help ensure that 75% or more of our loan dollars are supporting a more socially just and environmentally sustainable world, and that none of our loans are counter to this mission.

I am beyond excited to announce that Beneficial State Bank’s Loan Processing Office will be hosting a client and community celebration in Santa Rosa, CA on January 15, 2019. I invite you to come check out our new, beautiful Administrative space at 804 4th St. Santa Rosa, Ca 95404. This is a great opportunity for community members and local businesses to learn more about how Beneficial State Bank and Foundation can help them meet their mission and goals.

I am blessed to work for a company that supports my passion to serve my community. As a mother of two beautiful children, I want nothing but the best for them and their future. That includes a new, sustainable economy that centers the needs of historically marginalized communities.

Nancy is a Senior Beneficial Banker based in Santa Rosa, CA.

This blog post reflects the author’s personal views and opinions. It does not represent the views and opinions of Beneficial State Bank and/or Beneficial State Foundation.