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Finding a Financial Company that Shares Your Environmental and Community Service Goals

If you are interested in doing business with a bank or financial service firm that shares your interest in sustainability and community service, you won’t have to look too hard. Most financial service companies take part in various forms of community service and environmental responsibility; some more than others, however.

Below is a brief look into what three of the most popular financial service firms are doing to make a positive impact in today’s world.

American Express
has a Corporate Responsibility program that focuses on historic preservation and community service. As stated on their website, the mission of their program is “to bring to life the American Express value of good corporate citizenship by supporting communities in ways that enhance the company’s reputation with employees, customers, business partners and other stakeholders.”

Through the company’s efforts, several communities have received financial support through grants to restore and preserve significant historical sites and buildings. The most recent grants were awarded to Villa Dominguito (a 200-year-old traditional building in rural Argentina),the DomRömer Archaeological Gardens in Frankfurt, Germany, Faneuil Hall (America’s first town meeting hall) in Boston, Massachusetts, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City and the New York City Center in New York City.

American Express also encourages its employees to participate in community service projects by working with organizations that, as stated on the American Express webpage, “cultivate meaningful opportunities for civic engagement.” The company also makes an effort to provide “immediate and long-term relief” to victims of natural disasters and financial support to relief agencies. Examples of organizations who have recently received grants are the Association for Persons with Special Needs in Singapore, the Brighton Dome and Festival in Brighton, UK, Feeding America in Chicago, Illinois, the Junior Achievement program in the United States and the United Way of New York City.
JPMorgan Chase and Co. makes a continuous effort to be involved in community service. In the fall of 2011, three charities from Washington were selected to receive $25,000 each from the Chase Community Giving program to be used for program development. Those charities were the Northwest Youth Music Association, NexGen Academy and Amigos de Santa Cruz. In addition to these three charities, Chase also gave grants ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 to nearly 100 other charities across the United States last year.

The Chase Community Development Banking Team also helped finance the development of Tamarack Place, a new mixed-income housing community in Southeast Seattle. Tamarack Place was built with energy-efficiency in mind and features water-conserving fixtures, vegetated roof coverings and is located near the regional light rail system.

Perhaps the most vocal company on the environment and sustainability is Citi. They have an entire section on their website devoted to explaining their principles and policies on the environment. According to the company’s official Environmental Policy Framework, Citi was the “first financial services firm to announce greenhouse gas and water reduction goals.” The company reports annually on global energy and water use and any other metric related to their global footprint.

As a company, Citi has confirmed in writing that it understands the threat that climate change, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity and other environmental sustainability issues bring to global society and natural capital. If you are looking to do business with a financial firm that is open about its stance on sustainability and is actively working to improve the environment, it seems that Citi is the best choice out of the three companies mentioned in this article.

Although I only covered three companies in this post, other firms like Discover, Bank of America, MasterCard and Visa also have corporate and environment responsibility programs similar to the ones described above. To learn more, just visit each company’s respective website.

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This is a guest post by blog junkie and full time writer Eliza Morgan. Eliza enjoys imparting useful and practical lending and debt advice to the blogging community. If you have any questions email her at [email protected].