an environmentally concious "bank" in Connecticut doing things differently
In recent years, Chase Bank has received a considerable amount of attention regarding their investment in fossil fuels, with a smattering of protests around the country organized by concerned environmental activists. Indeed, there is a lot of evidence to support the theory that big banks hold up the fossil fuel industry. According to the newest finance report from Banking on Climate Chaos, the 60 largest banks in the world have invested more than $5.5 trillion in fossil fuels in the last seven years alone. While these banks, which we call mega banks, will claim that they invest significantly in clean energy and other green projects, this investment is nothing compared to their total assets. To learn more about the role mega banks play in advancing climate change, check out our article here.
If you’re truly looking to support the movement to combat climate change, you want a Better Banking Option that doesn’t do the bare minimum while also giving money to the industries harming our planet. That’s where banks like Connecticut Green Bank (also called CT Green Bank) come in. They’ve made it their mission to leverage banking assets for the benefit of green industry in the state. While most small and local banks don’t have the assets to invest in fossil fuels, it’s hard to find Better Banking Options which prioritize green projects. CT Green Bank is a model example of the impact that banking assets can have when mobilized for the benefit of the earth.
Established in 2011 by the Connecticut General Assembly, the goal of CT Green bank is to leverage federal money to attract private capital investment in clean energy. This goal was expanded in 2021 to include all kinds of environmental infrastructure, including land conservation, agriculture, and more. Since their inception, they’ve invested $2.26 billion in clean energy projects in the state, creating jobs and healthy local communities in the process. To see the range of projects they choose to invest in, check out the customer stories on their website.
CT Green Bank is different from many banks we feature on this blog in that they don’t practice traditional banking, instead only offering loans to families and organizations for green projects. While they don’t offer checking or savings accounts, we decided to feature them here because they’re a great example of how policy can influence banking to divert government funds for great uses.
CT Green Bank doesn’t show up in our search engine when you look up their hometown because it's not technically a depository institution. However, even if it did show up, we suspect it wouldn't score well - like most banks who specialize in alternative lending. Our metric and search engine aren’t perfect; many banks and credit unions are only required to report certain data regarding their lending, so in order to compare them all equally we mainly look at housing and small business lending. We call this “quality” lending, but it doesn’t mean that other kinds of loans aren’t also important, and this bank is a textbook example of this.
We also wanted to share their work with our readers to show them how untraditional banking practices can be utilized to make a big difference in local economies. If you or an organization in Connecticut are looking for funding for an environmentally-friendly project, look no further than CT Green Bank.