Climate First Bank
There are many banks. Our bank is being founded as the only one to fight the climate crisis. The nation's first climate-focused bank will be coming to the St. Pete/Tampa Bay region in 2021. A bank’s value should come from its values. St. Pete and Tampa Bay know all too well the increasing ferocity of hurricane seasons. That’s just one measure of the climate crisis. The status quo of sustainability is no longer an option. The future demands we work together now to reverse the damage done by our carbon addiction. Climate First Bank (I/O) will be a full-service community bank offering personal and commercial banking services with a triple bottom line of people, planet, and prosperity. We will support customers, communities, and our planet by operating as a vehicle for positive change.
Climate First Bank, a full-service FDIC-insured commercial bank focused on environmental sustainability, celebrates one year of operation this month. In just one year, the bank opened two branches and shattered its financial and ESG goals to achieve $211 million in assets, $142 million loans and $171 million deposits. In its second year, Climate First Bank will build upon this phenomenal financial performance with the opening of a temporary Lake County branch at 2755 E. Orange Avenue in Eustis, Florida (pending regulatory approval). Climate First Bank was first envisaged by banking veteran and environmentalist Ken LaRoe in 2020. Despite the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Climate First Bank raised an unprecedented $44 million in capital on a minimum subscription of $17 million. In June 2021, Climate First Bank’s flagship location in St. Petersburg opened to much enthusiasm.
What does a zero carbon, climate-focused community bank look like? FinTech Futures spoke to Climate First Bank's founder, Ken LaRoe, and CTO, Marcio deOliveira, about the US entrant's ethos, technology, and plans, including its mixed views on fintechs. The climate crisis is only too apparent in Climate First Bank’s home state of Florida, with the threat of ever increasing storms and super-charged hurricanes, sea level rises, and record-breaking heat days, among other climate impacts. The bank claims to have been carbon neutral since day one, commits to never investing in extractive industries, and makes every decision through the lens of achieving Drawdown.
Values-based community bank Climate First Bank has partnered with Project Regeneration to develop a one-of-a-kind checking account that will support, promote and create funding for the environmental nonprofit's mission of planetary regeneration. When a client opens a Project Regeneration checking account, a $100 donation will also be made directly to Project Regeneration to assist with the foundation’s sustainable initiatives. In addition to the one-time contribution, monthly earnings garnered from the interest on all balances will be donated to the foundation. The account will also have no minimum account balance and no monthly fees.