Help Save the Earth – Change Your Bank

Last week I wrote about how some banks, including those doing business in Columbus, are major investors in fossil fuel development. I suggested ways you might take action to express your disapproval. But suppose you are so unhappy with the way your bank is contributing to global heating that you are looking for an alternative? How can you find a financial institution that shares your values?

First, why should you change banks, even if you don’t like its investment policies? Well, more and more investor services like Moody’s are advising that financial institutions that don’t move swiftly to net zero investments may find their credit rating damaged. funds europe magazine warns that some of the biggest asset managers are heavily exposed to decarbonization due to the amount of fossil fuels transported by sea. 40% of fossil fuel is transported by ship. As the world shifts to renewables, falling vessel values could lead to a depressed market and much lower returns. It is simply a good investment strategy to move out of banks heavily into fossil fuels.

If you are looking for more reasons to divest, there are many online articles to inform you. “Fossil Fuel Divestment: A Guide for Presbyterians” gives a thorough rationale for Christians (and people of other faiths, too). A website called “Zero Waste Wisdom” leads you through a step-by-step process in a shorter article with lots of links to bad banks and good banks. And Green America has links to six articles about divestment and re-investment.

How do you find a new bank? It depends on whether you are comfortable with online only banking or if you want a physical bank building to visit. If you don’t mind doing all your banking business online, there are some outstanding banks to choose from. Mighty Deposits has a customizable search engine that lets you determine what bank investment values and ownership are important to you, sustainable B-corp, banks above average in lending to low-income communities, small businesses, small farms, or public works; owned by women, Blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans or multi-racial.

If you want a brick and mortar bank or credit union in Columbus or Central Ohio, Green America has a map that can locate one. As far as Columbus is concerned, Telhio Credit Union is the choice. There are other credit unions in Columbus, too, who probably have zero investments in fossil fuels that aren’t in the database. Using the map I was surprised to find that there is a National Cooperative Bank down in Hillsboro, Ohio (between Cincinnati and Chillicothe) that focuses on benefiting those most in need, supporting low-income communities and the expansion of cooperative initiatives, investing in clean energy, small businesses and affordable housing, expanding access to healthy food and affordable health care. A little far from Columbus, but good to know about. Add it to your online bank list.

Suppose you want to switch to a “green” credit card. Lots of choices there. Green America offers one. And there is a list of ethical credit cards at “The Impact Investor” that you might want to look at.

As for stock investments, you might be best to consult your financial advisor for environmentally sustainable choices. Still, there is a rated list of mutual funds to explore at Natural Investments.

That’s a lot to digest, but if you embrace creation spirituality and want to align your life with caring for God’s creation, it’s worth the effort.

Here are some good prayers for the earth that you can use this week.

You can find this and all the Creation Care blogs for the church website I have written at my consolidating blog:
Thanks for your commitment to caring for God’s creation!

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