A new values-based financial institution, Climate First Bank (In Organisation), will soon be opening its doors in Florida this year. The bank will support the community through ESG-forward principles, offering customers all the conventional services of a bank with a special emphasis on sustainability to drive a “new and conscious way of banking”. It comes as consumers look for alternatives in a sector with traditionally limited options, which has come under fire for its lack of responsibility over environmental and social issues.
Climate First Bank (I/O) is slated to open its flagship location in St. Petersburg, Florida in the coming months to support customers and the local community with a new alternative impact-driven approach to financial services. Standard banking services will be integrated with modern technology so customers can access it digitally, and backed by its ESG-led operations, it will place a particular emphasis on NGOs that are dedicated to sustainability.
Some of the services that its eco-conscious clients will find include loan options for solar photovoltaic (PV), energy retrofits and infrastructure projects that help combat the climate emergency. The flagship bank itself will also be built in accordance with sustainability standards set out under LEED, Green Globes and Energy Star certifications.
The St. Pete community is very familiar with intensifying hurricanes and coastline erosion. We want to work hand in hand with the city in the fight against the climate crisis and set an example of how a local community bank with core environmental values can pave the way for fighting a global emergency.Ken LaRoe, Founder & CEO, Climate First Bank (I/O)
Speaking about the decision to open the bank at St. Petersburg, founder and CEO Ken LaRoe said that the community is increasingly feeling the impacts of climate change and is a service that is in demand amongst the rising cohort of conscious, sustainability-focused consumers.
“I was attracted to St. Pete’s environmental ethos that aligns with our core bank values, so I’m eager to offer the Bay Area community a new conscious way of banking. This milestone makes us one step closer to serving small businesses and professions as a community bank.”
“The St. Pete community is very familiar with intensifying hurricanes and coastline erosion. We want to work hand in hand with the city in the fight against the climate crisis and set an example of how a local community bank with core environmental values can pave the way for fighting a global emergency,” added LaRoe.
Led by millennials and Gen Zs, consumers have been demanding more from all businesses, from fashion labels to huge banks such as HSBC who are now under fire from their stakeholders, no doubt due to rising public pressure, holding them accountable for their role over the climate crisis and forcing them to change the way they operate.
My experience has shown there is a strong need and significant customer demand for an impact-based financial institution, which inspired me to launch Climate First Bank (I/O).Ken LaRoe, Founder & CEO, Climate First Bank (I/O)
Recent market research has also shown that consumers are now increasingly putting their dollars where it matters, spending more on brands that “take a stand” for social issues and purchasing sustainable goods across every product category more than ever before.
“My experience has shown there is a strong need and significant customer demand for an impact-based financial institution, which inspired me to launch Climate First Bank (I/O),” commented LaRoe, who added that the St. Petersburg local community has already begun launching their own green initiatives.
“I want to propel that movement with the opening of Climate First Bank (I/O) as a new and conscious way of banking. I truly believe that businesses do well by doing good for their employees, environment and community,” LaRoe continued.
He says that the plan is to continue expanding the impact of the bank by opening more locations across the Florida region, all of which will also be retrofitted with green infrastructure and certified with the same sustainability standards as its flagship.
The launch of Climate First Bank (I/O) comes amid a growing awareness amongst customers and investors alike of the impact of “where their money is going and what it’s funding,” as written in a Green Queen Media report on the top sustainability trends poised to take over this year, following clear evidence of the superior risk-adjusted returns of sustainable investments in the wake of the coronavirus-related economic volatility.
Other platforms that are now providing services similar to Climate First Bank (I/O) have found themselves in the limelight, such as Aspiration, a neobank offering 100% clean and sustainable financial services, who has bagged investment from Hollywood celebrity Robert Downey Jr.’s new climate tech venture fund.
Lead image courtesy of Climate First Bank Facebook.