Where you bank matters, not just for your wallet, but also for how the your financial institution uses the money with which it has been entrusted.
Bloomberg Markets magazine just came out with its second annual list of the world's greenest banks
, and the results might surprise you. Bank of America, which has been highly criticized for its consumer-unfriendly policies, came in number two on the list, mostly because it made a few very large investments in solar power. Last year's number two ranked bank
, Goldman Sachs, plummeted to number 18 this year because it helped raise almost $1 billion for the controversial, bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra.
The number one company both years was Spain's Santander, which has also made enormous investments in solar power.
Bloomberg's list has its limitations. For one thing, it only focuses on massive banks. For another, 70% of their scoring system is based on banks' support of clean-tech projects. If you want the money you deposit in a bank to support energy causes, then this is a good system. If a broader range of environmental topics matters to you, then there are other things to consider.
The remaining 30% of Bloomberg's ranking comes from banks' policies, specifically how sustainable their own operations are, including saving emissions, saving water and saving electricity. This is a pretty good thing to look at. TD Bank, for example, which does not appear to be on Bloomberg's list, recently went carbon neutral
Not sure what your bank is doing? Ask. Look at your bank's total corporate policies and the building in your community. Then, put your money where your heart is.