If you’re an eco-conscious consumer in Indiana, looking for a bank that’s aligned with your values can sometimes be hard.
Big banks that we’ve grown up with, like Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Citibank, may be familiar to us but they’re not the most environmentally-friendly out there. They’ve been found to invest heavily in fossil fuels. They also give out loans to other environmentally-destructive industries such as industrial agriculture and logging.
That leaves us with small and medium-sized banks. The latest figures show that there are still about a hundred in operation today in Indiana.
These banks may seem like better options, but it’s not always clear what their stance toward environmental and social issues are. Their websites may not display information about their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, making it hard for us to determine what their values are.
They may also be under less scrutiny from regulators and third-party organizations like news outlets and environmental nonprofits. As a result, we might not hear much about any unethical practices they might be responsible for.
What should you look for in an environmentally-friendly bank?
An environmentally-friendly bank makes sure that your money is managed according to strict social responsibility policies.
Unlike large, traditional banks, environmentally-friendly banks put the planet and their customers before profits. They usually don’t invest in fossil fuels or any industry that harms human and animal lives. Instead, they focus on lending to clean energy companies, small businesses, and environmental nonprofits.
Some are certified B Corporations and members of the Global Alliance on Banking for Values (GABV) – two associations that show the banks’ commitment to using the money they earn for sustainable economic, social, and environmental development.
As members of these associations, the banks are legally required to assess the impact of their operations and ensure that their services benefit the public.
Eco-conscious banks also work to make their business operations green. They may have targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and office waste. They might even rely on clean energy for electricity or electric vehicles for their transport needs.
Why is banking important for eco-conscious consumers?
No eco-conscious consumer wants their money to harm the environment.
Eco-conscious consumers take a lot of care to shop ethically, only choosing to support sustainable businesses and those verified to be free of issues like animal abuse and ocean pollution. But how often do you think about what’s happening to the money that’s sitting in our bank accounts?
Banks don’t just keep your money idle. They use it to invest in industries they deem profitable, such as the housing market. They also repackage our money into loans and add interest rates on top for businesses and individuals that might need quick financing.
Some big banks may go as far as using your money to finance oil companies and car manufacturers. Therefore, it’s important to save our money with the right environmentally-friendly bank to prevent it from being loaned to industries that work against your eco-conscious values.
The best banks in Indiana for eco-conscious consumers
If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly bank in Indiana, here’s a list that could help you.
These are banks that commit to environmental regulations and make an effort to reduce environmental pollution in their business operations. Some invest in renewable energy companies while others provide special loans for green technology equipment.
Here are the five best banks for eco-conscious Hoosiers.
Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Bank is a socially-responsible Ohio-based bank with more than 80 branches in Indiana. They’re highly committed to creating a safer, low-carbon future for the communities they serve. In 2020, they were named by Newsweek as one of “America’s Most Responsible Companies”.
As part of its mission to deliver sustainable growth, Fifth Third has invested a significant amount of money in renewable energy.
From 2012 to 2019, they lent nearly $4 billion to companies working to expand solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower energy in local communities. They aim to invest a further $8 billion in loans by 2025 for renewable energy companies and initiatives.
Fifth Third does not engage in harmful business relationships that may have associations with child labor, illegal logging, and natural resource extraction practices that violate international and national laws. They work hard to ensure that their bank complies with anti-money laundering regulations.
1st Source Bank
They integrate environmental sustainability principles into their business operations to stay in line with current green standards. At their Portage, Michigan branch, for example, they’ve added native plantings, natural stormwater management systems, and bioswales to reduce the need for irrigation during the summer months.
Their efforts to go green extend beyond their internal operations. They also advise customers on ways to attain Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification for their homes and business facilities.
For customers who purchase environmental equipment such as solid or liquid waste management products and recycling equipment, 1st Source offers flexible lines of credit.
1st Source’s efforts to provide helpful products and services have been recognized by several industry leaders. They’ve been ranked as one of the best banks in Indiana by Forbes and Indiana’s Small Business Association.
Old National Bank
Founded in 1834, Old National Bank is another one of Indiana’s long-standing financial institutions. They focus on investing in community-strengthening projects that build climate resilience for local families through alternative energy supplies and affordable housing.
Over the past decade, Old National has made investments and loans in renewable energy projects in Indiana. They constructed a solar power system at their new location in Darmstadt, Indiana that has helped them avoid 28.4 metric tons of carbon emissions every year.
They’ve also provided $23 million in investment capital to solar energy companies in 2018. They often partner with nonprofit organizations and businesses to raise awareness about the environment and promote environmental sustainability practices.
BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank is a socially responsible bank that prioritizes diversity, inclusion, and environmental sustainability in its business operations. They serve to create opportunities that benefit everyone, from their employees to their customers to the communities they are a part of.
Since 2010, BMO Harris has been carbon neutral. They’ve worked hard to reduce the environmental impact of their business operations by investing heavily in renewable energies, reducing carbon emissions from business travel and their buildings, and purchasing high-quality carbon offsets.
In February 2021, they signed the United Nations Environment Program – Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI) Principles for Responsible Banking, aligning their business strategy with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and regional environmental sustainability frameworks.
By 2021, they plan to reduce their operational greenhouse gas emissions by 15% from their 2016 baseline. This is part of their policy to reduce their environmental pollution through responsible management.
Based out of Pennsylvania, PNC Bank is a sustainability-focused bank with branches in 21 states, including Indiana. They have invested over $28 billion in sustainable finance since 2016 through loans and finance packages for businesses involved in renewable energy, pollution control, green buildings, and more.
They’ve set several goals to reach carbon neutrality in the next two decades. By 2025, they aim to rely on 100% renewable energy for all of their business operations. And by 2035, they commit to a 50% reduction in water use and a 75% reduction in carbon emissions.
Try Aspiration for your eco-conscious shopping needs
If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly solution with exceptional online services and apps, Aspiration could be the right choice for you.
Aspiration is an online bank that’s available 24/7 in Indiana and all other states and U.S. territories. As a B Corp certified bank, we don’t invest in any fossil fuels, private prisons, or weapons manufacturers so you can rest assured that your money does not harm the planet.
Since 2013, we’ve offered unique products and services that have helped thousands of customers offset their carbon emissions and invest in sustainable, eco-friendly stocks.
Our Plant Your Change program, for example, allows customers to plant trees automatically with every purchase they make. Our system rounds each transaction to the nearest whole dollar and uses the spare change to plant trees for them on their behalf.
Similarly, our Planet Protection initiative gives customers the ability to automatically buy carbon offsets every time they purchase a gallon of gas.
Both of these environmentally-friendly add-ons come with our Spend & Save account, and that’s not all. We also offer one of the highest savings APYs in the country. Our customers can receive up to 1.00% APY interest on their savings deposits.
When you bank with us, we make sure that your money benefits both you and the planet.