Why you should be banking with National Cooperative Bank


A bank working on a national scale to fund co-ops in low-income neighborhoods

We’ve been working on something extremely exciting at Better Banking Options, something that will make it much easier for everyone, regardless of their location or their particular banking needs. It’s something we’ve mentioned before, but now that we have a better idea of what it will look it, we’d like to tell you a little more about the search engine we’ve been developing. Anyone should be able to plug in an area code or city and get a list of all of the institutions within a certain radius, ordered by a metric which accounts for all the things which we look for in Better Banking Options, such a small business lending and low- and moderate-income housing loans.

However, one area of lending which may not be accounted for in our metric (yet, at least) is lending to non-profit co-ops and organizations. Usually, this kind of lending is only a small percentage of a bank’s lending, but is sometimes heavily emphasized, especially by larger banks who have dedicated PR employees and who need to make their lending related to community development projects seem much more significant than it is. Some banks may even make small donations to community groups, or even have their employees donate their time volunteering. While these things are great to see, it’s not comparable to the impact that leveraged lending from a depository institution can have when they decide to heavily invest in community organizations.

National Cooperative Bank is a depository institution which has made it the main purpose of the bank to invest in co-ops. They say their customers are primarily “grocery wholesaler co-ops, food co-ops, purchasing co-ops, credit unions or housing co-ops,” although their customers can be any organization which is member owned and operated. They specifically target co-ops in low-income areas where it might be difficult to get capital from another source.

They only have a few branches in cities scattered across the country because they’re a bank with a national focus, unlike most banks which only seek to serve communities in which they have branches. Indeed, their board members all started community organizations in cities and towns across the country, meaning their higher-ups know intimately the challenges of running and funding a co-op. Their main branch’s location in Arlington, VA, outside of DC, allows them to work with government organizations to secure federal funding and capital for customers.

Their lending portfolio clearly indicates that they’re a solid Better Banking Option. They do a significant amount of housing lending, with 30% of their total lending being housing lending and 30% of that is loaned to low- and moderate-income households. They’re effectively loaned out, with a net-loans-to-deposits ratio of 90%. Their small business lending is only at 3.4%, their significant lending to cooperatives stands in addition to that.

They also have a reputation as being a great place to work, being in the top 10% of the Washington Post’s Top Employers list since the list’s inception in 2014. To learn more about the contributions they’ve made to specific organizations, check out the press releases portion of their website. They offer both online and mobile banking options, and although they prioritize their work with co-ops, they offer basic checking and savings accounts to the average individual, so anyone generally looking to invest in co-ops in low-income neighborhoods across the country can do so. Get started with this better banking options today and visit their website.

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