A few brave souls ventured out last night, despite the cold and alluring Olympics, to hear the delightful Marsela Pecanac, Senior vice-president of New Resource Bank, a values driven, green bank. Her interesting presentation offered a rare look at the inner workings of a bank. This San Francisco bank is insured by the Federal Insurance Corporation and offers a range of commercial loans, deposit products and personal accounts. Loans are only given to green business specializing in four main areas: alternative energy, green building, organic food, and green products and services.
Marsela said New Resource Bank is a B Lab corporation (Google it and read up). The "B" stands for "benefit" According to Wikipedia, they are "non-profit organizations that serves a global movement as a force for good. It's vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the 'best for the world'. As a result, society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity. The power of business is used to solve social and environmental problems." The process to become a B Lab corporation is long and intense, needs to be renewed annually.
New Resource Bank is proud to a B Lab corporation, highly rated by the Bauer Report , and part of a Global Alliance network that is working to achieve well being for the individual and the planet.
Now, I will not pretend to understand all the technical ins and outs of the complicated world of banking, but Marsela said to think of our dollars as "magic carpets" that are always on the move. We may think our money is spending the night in a bank, but really that money is being invested in good ways or bad ways, always on the move. She said about 40% of traditional big banks money is invested in risky ventures (think crash of 2008) in order to increase profits for its shareholders. She used the term "raw capitalism" companies needing to generate big profits, as compared with "conscious capitalism" which grows by making values based investments. The four "P's" of New Resource Bank are - People, Planet, Profit, and Purpose.
One book that "champions small, appropriate technologies" and that are believed to empower people more, in contrast to "bigger is better," is called Small is Beautiful, a book about a study of economics as if people mattered, by E. F. Schumacher. The Times Literary Supplement ranked this book as one of the most influential books published since World War II.
On a side note, as a Person of the Planet, if you wanted your money work for a green cause, New Resource Bank would be happy to open an account for you. Also, check out B Lab which has listings of all companies that have gone through the process to become green, sustainable businesses. Why not support those companies who are making a difference.
New Resource Bank is located at 255 California Street in San Francisco.