Image
Winding path

Blog

Where do we go from here? Progressive banking in a new political era

From our vantage point as the leading progressive bank, it feels these days like, as a country, we are not making the progress our great nation is capable of. There is talk of instituting an isolationist foreign policy that will evoke for many memories of the 1930s. Executive actions regarding immigration are sparking protests all over the country in numbers not seen since the 1960s. And a promise to deregulate Wall Street has the potential to create a financial environment eerily similar to that of 2008. As the progressive movement aims to march forward, it seems as if many are eager to return to the failed policies of years past.

Photo of Keith Mestrich

President & CEO

These uncertainties, matched with rhetoric urging the distrust of businesses, government and media, have given birth to a large swath of people who no longer have faith in the institutions that have served them for years. The Edelman Trust Barometer reported the largest drop in trust across the board which included financial institutions’ credibility taking a considerable hit. And it’s no wonder why people are wary of banks these days. Recently, we’ve seen banks open fraudulent accounts to improve their numbers; a mishandling of the housing market; and strong lobbying efforts to allow financial institutions to operate in the shadows of regulation.

At Amalgamated Bank, however, we’ve spent the last 94 years shattering that stereotype. We were founded by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, a union that organized tens of thousands of immigrant workers who cut fabric and toiled at sewing machines. The creation of the Amalgamated Bank was predicated on the belief that workers and their families deserve access to affordable banking and that banking wasn’t a system meant only for corporations and wealthy individuals. So when it comes to being different, we know that doing is more important than saying. That’s why we’ve become a certified B Corporation, a distinction we earned after being evaluated under rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency; we’ve joined the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, a network of banking leaders from around the world committed to advancing positive change in the banking sector; and we’ve invested in addressing the issues you care about, like divesting from fossil fuels, creating tobacco and carbon free investment funds and raising our own minimum wage to $15.

In these uncertain times, you not only need reassurance that your money is safe, but you want to know that it is doing the right thing. Amalgamated Bank has grown from a predominately union bank to serve non-profits, foundations, socially responsible businesses and progressive candidates, campaigns and individuals working to change the world. It is because we are cut from the same cloth and believe in these organizations that we are able to take a chance on the startup that cares as much about its mission as it does about its profits; or the non-profit that doesn’t measure success in dollars and cents but by the number of lives it has impacted. We work round the clock hours and go the extra yard for them because these are the people that are making the world a better place in which to live.

With an eye to the future, we continue to roll out new products and initiatives that create more opportunity for our customers while staying true to our progressive values. For example, we’ve developed special lines of credit for homeowners that enable them to finance the installation of solar panels and go green and we launched our Affinity Give-Back Online Savings account so, as customers’ accounts earn interest, Amalgamated Bank donates an amount equal to half of that interest to a participating charitable organization. At Amalgamated, your money can be just as active as you are.

While we ride out whatever turbulent waters lie ahead, we want you to know that we're here to help you navigate them. Our mission has and always will be to help those who do good, do better.

All information and data on this blog site is for informational purposes only. No representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity, of any information is being made. All information is provided AS IS with no warranties, and confers no rights.  Because the information on this blog are based on personal opinion and experience, it should not be considered professional financial investment advice. The ideas and strategies should never be used without first assessing your own personal and financial situation, or without consulting a financial professional.