Green Banking 101: Greening Your Bank Account
Eco-friendly and sustainable living has rapidly grown into a separate corporate sector. Many industries have launched campaigns to increase awareness about the world’s consumerist ways, including initiatives to increase profits while lessening the impact on the environment. These business initiatives follow a trend led by their clients and customers.
Individuals throughout the country are increasingly adapting a “greener” lifestyle, with the goal of improving their health and overall well-being. From gardening to paperless transactions, many people are starting to realize that “green” living translates to a better way of life, and that eating organic can rejuvenate minds and bodies
The “green” lifestyle, in its many forms and degrees, is driven by a fundamental desire to preserve the environment around us. This attitude and approach touches all facets of our lives and interactions.
Even banking institutions have gotten into the mix. Financial institutions around the world have also adapted a “greener” perspective by offering alternative spending, savings, and investment opportunities that do not harm the environment. Colloquially speaking, “green banking” refers to environmentally sound banking practices that cater to the institution, member, and environment. Not only does this make it easier for everybody, it allows for the progression of the planet in many ways, including increased savings.
Let’s take a look at the different facets of “green banking” and how it can help you:
Go Paperless and Save a Tree
Banks, credit unions, and other lending institutions have launched paperless initiatives for several reasons. First of all, these businesses benefit from the cut in expenses that would normally go to countless boxes of paper, ink, print equipment, and maintenance to keep it all going. With the advent of electronic filing, banks can store account information and deliver bank statements over the Internet. This also makes it easier for the member, because it offers speedy, clutter-free delivery of bank statements. In addition, the member can receive reminders that will help them maintain their accounts more efficiently. Going paperless also cuts down on deforestation and reduces the planet’s overall carbon footprint.
Say Hello to Online Banking and Goodbye to Wasted Gasoline
Online banking can be a life saver for most people. It allows bank customers and credit union members to conduct most banking transactions without leaving their home. Most banks have adopted an online system that allows the member to check their balance, make payments, conduct electronic transfers, order checks and perform most banking tasks. Some banks, credit unions, and lending institutions have taken it step further by conducting all banking practices online. In fact, these banks in particular belong to a surcharge-free ATM network, which allow members to withdraw cash for free at roughly thirty-seven thousand locations throughout the United States.
- CBS News: The Benefits of Banking Online
- Reuters: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Internet Banking
- Houston Chronicle: The Risks and Advantages of Online Banking
Cash in with Green Reward Programs and Save the Planet
A minority of smaller banks offer cash-back programs with “green” incentives. For instance, some provide debit cards that give ten cents back for members who take advantage of “green” practices, such as paying bills online, setting up recurring payments, and even making a debit card purchases. Others donate money to charities, organizations, and associations with every swipe. This makes “green banking” a no-nonsense approach to obtaining money, making purchases, and paying bills.
- Earth911: Would Green Banking Work for You?
- “Green” Banking: Saving the Environment as You Save and Borrow Money
Invest with the Environment in Mind and Support Local Communities
Most banks, credit unions and lending institutions invest money placed into a savings account and then provide a small return. However, depositors and members rarely know where the money goes. Many individuals appreciate and look for banks and institutions that invest money into a large variety of “green” businesses. Others may reach out to non-profit organizations. The best way to find these banks, credit unions and lending institutions is to ask around or conduct research to find the most suitable option.
With all of these green banking resources now available, there’s one more missing ingredient to make it effective: customer participation. By using online services, including bill pay, and encouraging institutions to adopt green banking policies, banking customers can save time – but also avoid having to waste energy and adding to the negative effects on our environment.