A CDFI operating on the West Coast that operates with transparency and mission-driven banking.
When it dissolved in 2009, ShoreBank, one of the largest community development banks in the country, left a need for equitable banking and loan services in the low-income neighborhoods they used to serve. Tom Steyer and his wife Kat Taylor, two extraordinarily wealthy individuals and activists, brought together a team that acquired ShoreBank’s Pacific branches through their bank, OneCalifornia Bank, and formed One PacificCoast Bank, which was rebranded in 2014 as Beneficial State Bank. Their main goal was to retain the environmentally friendly practices which OneCalifornia had already been using while also preserving the social justice core of ShoreBank’s mission. The result, after several additional mergers where Beneficial acquired smaller banks, is a community development bank with an ecological focus that has 17 locations in California, Oregon and Washington.
Beneficial State Bank’s website states that their goal is to support change-makers in industry and non-profits by bringing capital to organizations with like-minded values. They also emphasize supporting low-and-moderate-income people who tend to be underserved by traditional banking and to prevent people from being pushed to use predatory financial services. Beneficial is a bank that truly believes in the investment in people and communities and has continued to fund mission-driven businesses, clean energy and affordable housing all along the West Coast.
Having just reached a billion dollars in assets, Beneficial State uses these assets effectively, having achieved a satisfactory CRA rating and being nearly 90% lent out, although they have reported a slight quarterly loss on occasion. It’s clear they understand the importance of housing to building strong neighborhoods, with nearly one-half of their lending portfolio going to housing, and slightly more than 75% of that going to affordable housing loans for low-and-moderate-income people. Additionally, they do a moderate amount of small business lending, making up almost 9% of their lending.
They provide a multitude of online banking resources that make it possible for even those who do not live near one of their branches to invest in this Better Banking Option. We would recommend this bank to anyone looking for a bank with solid ecological and community values which inform their practice. To learn more about Beneficial State Bank’s impact on the communities they work in, check out their impact page.