Questions? We have answers.

Why does my personal banking matter to the climate?

When you put money into your deposit account, it doesn’t just sit there. Banks can use your money to fund projects like drilling in the Arctic, laying down oil pipelines through Indigenous land, and building refineries that pollute our communities. Here’s the full story.

How are climate and racial justice related?

Structural racism and the climate crisis are deeply entwined. Both are the result of entrenched power structures working in their best interest to maintain the status quo. Through redlining, denial of housing mortgages, support for polluting industries, among other practices, several of the country’s largest banks have contributed to the climate crisis while stripping BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities in particular of the resources to respond. BIPOC communities are leaders on climate action, but many of them are also on the frontlines of our changing climate and will be more impacted than white communities. Already, factories and other high-polluting industries are much more likely to be built in communities of color, leading to segregated health impacts even for residents in the same city. Climate justice is racial justice. Read more here.

How do I know that the institutions you highlight are actually committed to doing good, and that it’s not just marketing?

Good question. None of the institutions listed here came to us with a marketing plan. We found, vetted, and asked everyone listed on the site to participate. All those on our site have committed to being fossil fuel free. For the full details, read more here.

We want to connect institutions that do the right thing to people who want to do right by their communities and our planet.  Our end goal: building a new banking system that respects and represents people and the planet.

Are there more good banks than those listed here? If so, why did you choose this group?

Yes, this is just the beginning. We started by contacting a group of 100 institutions. We structured our outreach by starting with organizations that already met one of more of the following criteria:

  • Has a fossil free commitment
  • Holds a third party or government social, environmental, or economic certification (e.g. B-Corp, CDFI, etc)
  • Are minority owned/led
  • Serves high population metro areas and states
  • Easily accommodates remote members.

Here are all the details.

I bank with or work at a financial institution that I think should be included as part of this movement. Can you add it to the site?

Drop us a note. If the institution meets our criteria and wants to be included, we’ll add them to the list.

What do you mean by switching financial institutions?

To make the full switch, you need to open a new account and close your old account(s). Set yourself a reminder to switch here.

How long does it take to open a new account?

Opening a new account can take fewer than 5 minutes. It might take a bit longer for institutions that require steps like a signature or if you need to gather some information. You’ll usually need:

  • Proof of address (credit/debit card statement, lease, utility bill, cable bill, or a cell phone)
  • A government-issued ID (driver’s license, state ID, passport, Social Security card, or birth certificate)
  • Your social security number

If you’re not a citizen, you can still almost always still open an account. You can use other documents to open an account, such as a:

  • Municipal ID (NY)
  • Foreign driver’s license
  • Consular ID
  • ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number) instead of a SSN
  • Alien identification card number

How do I close my old bank account?

Closing your old account is easy if you just follow a few steps:

1. Check that all pending payments from your old account have cleared, like checks and debit charges. 

2. Transfer money from your old account to your new one. Important: Some institutions charge fees for low account balances, so be sure to either close your account on the same day or leave enough money in your account until you close it to avoid any fees.

3. Move over all your recurring payments (music streaming service, rent, utilities, insurance, etc) to the new account. (You can look at your bank statement to check what needs to be switched). Important: Try to also move them all at once to ensure your payments aren’t interrupted. If you can’t remember all your recurring payments, you can leave your old account open for a month to monitor any activity and close it after that month. 

4. Switch your direct deposits (ie. your paycheck), your automatic payments (like your gas and internet), and your linked accounts (music, streaming, and video subscriptions) to the new account.

5. Let your old institution know that you want to close the account. You can usually do this online or over the phone. Document the closing and ask for confirmation that the account is closed via email or a letter.

6. Get loud! Let your old bank know that you disagree with their financing practices and that fossil fuels don’t belong in our future. Post on social media that you’ve made the switch, and use the hashtag #bankforgood.

Important: If you are receiving or expect to receive government assistance due to the pandemic, we recommend keeping your old account until you have finished receiving payments. This ensures you do not miss a payment. Types of assistance include:

  • Unemployment benefits
  • Stimulus check
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan

I might forget to switch. Can you remind me?

Sure thing. Set yourself a daily, weekly, or monthly reminder here.

How is this project funded?

Our work is funded by a U.S.-based philanthropic foundation.

Did financial institutions pay to be listed on this site?

No. We’re raising up financial institutions committed to changing the system and focused on environmental, racial, and economic justice. Here are the details.

Did the institutions listed here agree to participate?

Yes! We got in touch with all the institutions listed here to explain the campaign, asked them to sign our fossil-fuel-free pledge, and then signed them up.

This is a good start, but I want to do more. What’s next?

Switching accounts is just the beginning. Step it up here.

What is a broker-dealer?

In financial services, a broker-dealer is most often a financial firm that engages in the business of providing brokerage products and securities for its customers. Brokerage products include investment and retirement accounts, cash management accounts, and other financial services. Broker-dealers are registered with FINRA and have SIPC protection, not FDIC coverage.

Who should I tell that I’m closing my old bank account?

Shout it out! The more who hear your message, the better. Here are some ideas to start:

  • Tag your old institution on social media and let them know why you’re leaving.
  • Tell your friends, family, and followers over social media why you left your old financial institutions and what you like about your new one. 
  • Lead by example! Ask others to join you at your new financial institution. Many organizations have great referral programs, so check those out too (win-win).
  • Start a conversation. Talk directly to your family and friends about problems within the banking system and explain why you chose to make the switch.

What is a credit union?

Credit unions are nonprofit financial cooperatives, born out of the idea that communities can join together to help each other. This means that, unlike banks, credit unions are collectively owned by their members, so when you deposit money, you become a partial owner. You can usually join a credit union’s community, or field of membership, based on where you live or work, your family members, or through a small one-time donation.

I have a different question. Can I email you?