The Most Ethical Banks in the United States in 2021

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Our team at Aspiration has identified the banks that are most committed to developing, investing in, and supporting communities across America.

The United States has a large number of banks. Some have received awards for their ethical behavior, while others have been called out for unethical behavior. Many people are concerned about banks’ ethical practices. 

As a result, there has been a greater emphasis on which banks in America are considered the most ethical. Philanthropic efforts and sustainability commitments are the two main factors that guide this rating system.

To determine the most ethical bank in America, we examined data from Forbes magazine and compiled our list based on our findings. This article will discuss which banks in America are rated the most ethical based on their philanthropic efforts, commitment to sustainability, and other factors. We’ll also highlight some of these top-rated banks so you can find the right one for you.

What makes a bank ethical? 

Banks that are considered to be the most ethical in America have a few things in common. They invest in the community, give back to those less fortunate, and make an effort to be sustainable. It’s essential for banks to do these things and show their commitment through action rather than words alone.

Here are more ways a bank could be ethical:

  • A bank should be transparent about how it operates.
  • A bank should respect its customers and treat them fairly.
  • A bank should not discriminate against any individual or group of people because of race, gender, religion, etc.
  • A bank should give back to the community by donating money for charitable causes and volunteering time to help those in need.
  • Banks exist as a service to their customers – they are there to provide financial support and guidance when needed. 
  • Banks must follow all laws set forth by the government so that no one is breaking any rules.

Most ethical banks have a robust charitable giving program 

To determine which bank is regarded as the most ethical, we first had to define what ethical behavior entailed. We discovered that the top banks in America are philanthropic and demonstrate their commitment through action rather than words alone—not just making it a priority on paper but actually following through on commitments to give back to others.

Philanthropic efforts can take many different forms

Banks invest in the community by donating to charitable causes, partnering with nonprofit organizations to help their communities, and giving back in other ways. 

They also give back by sponsoring events like marathons or music festivals. These are good forms of sponsorship because they benefit the bank while also strengthening its relationship with customers who attend these events. Banks that sponsor local sports teams or cultural events are also considered ethical because they give back and engage their community in a deeper, more personal way.

What impact do banks have?

Banks also have an impact on the environment. They use their resources to reduce waste and water consumption, which is one of many ways they help with sustainability

They are reducing energy usage by incorporating renewable sources into their infrastructure so that less carbon dioxide will be emitted into the atmosphere. These banks tend to implement strategies for sustainable practices internally before making them public to their customers.

Sustainable efforts are key 

Another factor considered when determining which banks are most ethical is their commitment to sustainability. Banks that make commitments to act more sustainably- whether by reducing their carbon footprint, donating unused goods, or focusing on sustainable energy practices like solar power- help protect the environment and lessen our impact on the Earth.

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Which banks are considered the most ethical? 

Bank of America  

Since 1985, this bank has given over $190 million to nonprofits and has pledged $25 billion for clean energy initiatives by 2025. They also collaborate with Ocean Conservancy, which aims to protect natural resources worldwide while promoting sustainable economic growth and biodiversity.

Why is Bank of America regarded as one of the most ethical financial institutions in the United States?

  • Bank of America invests in their communities by making loans to small businesses and homeowners.
  • They offer free financial literacy programs, including workshops on how to manage your money.
  • They emphasized sustainability by investing in renewable energy sources.
  • They provide the highest level of customer service possible – they are open 24/7 for any questions or concerns you might have
  • Bank of America is committed to diversity, with over 30% minority employees at all levels of management.
  • The company strives for environmental responsibility by reducing emissions and using recycled materials.

TCF National Bank 

TCF has a history of supporting nonprofits in their local communities. They have donated over $3 million to these organizations and offer free financial literacy classes for children and veterans transitioning back into civilian life. Their commitment to clean energy is demonstrated by the fact that they consider environmental considerations before building new branches.

Why is TCF National Bank regarded as one of the most ethical financial institutions in the United States?

  • TCF National Bank offers free checking and low-interest loans to qualified customers
  • TCF National Bank does not charge overdraft fees or minimum balance fees, unlike other banks
  • The company invests heavily in its employees with tuition reimbursement and paid time off for volunteer work 

U.S. Bank 

In 2021, U.S. Bank donated over $70 million to nonprofits and has been committed to investing in local communities for more than 100 years now (since 1911). They also offer free financial management classes and affordable banking opportunities for the unbanked as well as small businesses seeking loans or other financing options like overdraft protection.

Why is U.S. Bank regarded as one of the most ethical financial institutions in the United States?

  • U.S. Bank’s banking practices are transparent
  • U.S. Bank is committed to the communities in which it operates 
  • U.S. bank has an extensive list of community outreach programs available for customers to take advantage of 
  • U.S. Bank is dedicated to helping people achieve their financial goals by providing them with access to high-quality financial products and services that meet their needs at a competitive price 
  • U.S. bank offers its employees opportunities for professional growth and development through training programs that include leadership development courses and certifications

Wells Fargo 

In 2015, Wells Fargo donated $250 million to nonprofits and had a partnership with the Wildlife Habitat Council. They help improve local habitats by providing workshops for employees on protecting these ecosystems while also protecting biodiversity and minimizing environmental impact. This is just one example of their many philanthropic efforts that demonstrate a commitment to the environment and a strong sense of ethics. Wells Fargo has also donated over $400 million to small businesses struggling due to the 2020 Cornavirus pandemic. 

Why is Wells Fargo regarded as one of the most ethical financial institutions in the United States?

  • Employees are required to treat customers with respect, not discriminate against them, and provide fair mortgage loans for everyone regardless of race or gender.
  • Wells Fargo invests in its people by providing education and training programs that help employees grow their skills and learn new ones.
  • Wells Fargo is committed to sustainability in everything they do – from reducing energy consumption to protecting the environment.
  • They have an open-door policy where employees can speak up about what needs improvement without fear of retaliation.

The Amalgamated Bank

The Amalgamated Bank has donated over $100 million to nonprofits and avoids investing in companies that violate the United Nations’ guidelines for human rights. They have a strong commitment to clean energy since they invest directly in green projects and provide outreach programs such as environmental education courses so kids can learn about protecting ecosystems across America.

Why is The Amalgamated Bank regarded as one of the most ethical financial institutions in the United States?

  • They’re committed to ensuring that every customer has access to banking services, regardless of race or ethnicity.
  • The Amalgamated Bank is not just about financial success – they are also dedicated to making their communities better places by supporting local charities and organizations. 
  • The Amalgamated Bank was founded on ethical principles, which remain central today as it continues its commitment to doing right by customers and communities alike.

PNC Bank 

PNC has worked with the American Heart Association to teach children about healthy eating and living while helping underserved communities gain access to safe, affordable food. They are committed to fighting climate change by investing directly in green projects that reduce carbon emissions worldwide. PNC is also dedicated to protecting biodiversity through its efforts in reforestation and clean drinking water initiatives.

Why is PNC Bank regarded as one of the most ethical financial institutions in the United States?

  • They have some of the lowest overdraft fees in the country
  • They are committed to improving communities by supporting affordable housing and economic development projects 
  • The bank is environmentally conscious, using renewable energy sources and recycling materials when possible
  • They offer financial education classes to help people manage their money better

JPMorgan Chase 

This bank is committed to protecting biodiversity through its efforts in reforestation while minimizing environmental impact by avoiding investments in companies that violate the United Nations’ guidelines for sustainable development. They have donated over $150 million to nonprofits. They are dedicated to improving financial literacy among Americans, especially children who attend the free financial literacy classes offered by JPMorgan Chase and other banks.

Why is JPMorgan Chase regarded as one of the most ethical financial institutions in the United States?

  • JPMorgan is committed to transparency and accountability.
  • They have a diverse group of employees from all walks of life, including women, minorities, veterans, LGBTQ+ people, and immigrants.
  • They have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. 
  • They are committed to sustainability, investing in clean energy projects. 
  • And they’re dedicated to helping their community through local partnerships and philanthropy initiatives.


The USAA is committed to donating $50 million with three years to nonprofits and has a strong commitment to giving back to the communities in which they do business. They also offer free financial literacy courses for children, students, military members transitioning out of service, veterans seeking benefits assistance from the VA, as well as their family members.

Why is The USAA regarded as one of the most ethical financial institutions in the United States?

  • It’s not just because they offer services to those who have served in the military but also because of their high standards.
  • They were one of only six banks that received an A+ rating from Bauer Financial during the 2008 financial crisis.
  • They don’t charge overdraft fees, which can cost up to $35 per transaction.
  • They are also environmentally conscious by recycling plastic bags and using solar power on some branches. 

Meet Aspiration, an ethical and eco-friendly neobank 

Aspiration is an online bank that strives to be ethical and eco-friendly in every way. They want their customers and community to live a better life, so they try to minimize the environmental impact of their business while increasing its social impact. 

Whether you’re looking for a checking account or credit card with great rates, we can help find what’s right for you at Aspiration Bank. How can Aspiration Zero make your money work better for you? Apply Now!

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