Wharton Social Impact Initiative tackles the post-Recession bank stereotype - Generocity Philly

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Jan. 5, 2017 10:07 am

Wharton Social Impact Initiative tackles the post-Recession bank stereotype

Believe it or not, triple-bottom-line banking is a thing. Beneficial State Bank founder Kat Taylor sat down with WSII VP Katherine Klein to talk about it.

America. Money. Banks.

(Photo by Flickr user Beverly & Pack, used under a Creative Commons license)

Banking might be the last thing that comes to mind when you think of social or environmental justice.

Oakland-based Beneficial State Bank is looking to change the negative image banks have created for themselves in post-Recession America (and well before now, for what it’s worth) by adhering to a triple bottom line.

Kat Taylor, who founded Beneficial in 2007, sat down with Wharton Social Impact Initiative Vice President Katherine Klein to talk about the B Corporation’s business values and its social and environmental goals in depth.

“We have a living wage policy. We pay 150 percent of living wage in all markets, full benefits. We don’t finance fossil fuels. We measure our greenhouse gas and water and landfill footprint, and drive it down every year,” said Taylor. “What we’re trying to do is hold ourselves accountable to third-party, auditable standards so that we act and fly right, and the purpose of that is double because our mission is to change the banking system for good.”

The video is below, but here’s a transcript of the sit-down.

State Beneficial Bank is also a community development finance institution (CDFI), so their struggle to overcome stigmas is twofold: CDFIs, according to a report from Opportunity Finance Network published last spring, are struggling to rebrand themselves to appeal to new money.

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