Sunrise Banks, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, seeks to radically change the way urban communities and underserved people thrive by empowering them to achieve their aspirations. Sunrise uses a “do good” approach to business with products that make a difference in communities. Sunrise Banks believes that using business as a force for good can multiply impact. Sunrise Banks is a Certified B Corp, a certification granted to organizations that demonstrate a commitment to transparent corporate governance, environmental stewardship and positive community impact. Sunrise is also a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a network of the world’s leading sustainable banks that use finance to deliver sustainable development for underserved people, communities and the environment.
Fair Financial, a digital platform for the unbanked, recently launched in a pilot program to serve about 500 Twin Cities customers over the next 18 months. Anne Clark, an executive whose nonprofit is overseeing the rollout of Fair Financial, is partnering with several other organizations in the area, including Sunrise Banks. They have estalished a goal of providing 5,000 low-income customers across the country with Fair deposit accounts and small-dollar loans by 2020. What sets Fair apart in the industry is what Clark and others describe as a “bundled” suite of products for the underbanked. Customers can open low-cost checking and savings accounts, as well as take out a small-dollar loan that’s designed to help them bolster their credit scores. The accounts are provided through a cobranded partnership with Sunrise Banks, a $1.1 billion-asset community development financial institution in St. Paul.
Sunrise Banks and Twin Cities-based nonprofit Prepare + Prosper have announced a multiyear plan to provide thousands of low-income families with an alternative to payday lenders and check-cashing operators. The Financial Access in Reach (FAIR) plan is aimed at providing "financially underserved" people with access to a checking, savings and small-loan program at a modest cost. "Collaborating with Prepare + Prosper on the FAIR Initiative is giving people the tools they need to improve their financial wellness," Sunrise CEO David Reiling said in a statement. "We're setting an example for many financial institutions to follow, and working to change the way they do business."
In this article authored by Sunrise Banks CEO David Reiling, the possibility of an Amazon-branded checking account is discussed. Reiling examines whether the product can ceate positive social change, and suggests a potential partnership between Amazon and small, innovative banks in addition to larger institutions like JPMorgan Chase. "The key to disruption in any sector is agility," he wrote. "Big banks are far too clunky and siloed for the rapid adaptive innovation required."