NerdWallet's picks include banks, credit unions and neobanks with third-party certifications and strong ratings.
Written by: Spencer Tierney
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When you open an account at a socially responsible bank, your dollars support initiatives to make social and environmental good. As with any bank, money from bank accounts helps fund loans to businesses and home buyers.
More broadly, socially responsible banking institutions include banks, credit unions (as the not-for-profit equivalent) and internet-only banking fintech companies called neobanks. All types can prove their eco-friendly or social justice missions through third-party designations. These certifications are among the definitive ways to find a socially responsible bank.
Apart from certifications, NerdWallet analyzed socially responsible institutions based on two other factors:
Can anyone in the United States be eligible to join them, especially online? We chose institutions that our nationwide readership can consider.
How do the banking accounts compare to those at other institutions? We used our traditional methodology to evaluate personal checking, savings and certificates of deposit when available. For more details, skip to the methodology.
Here's our list of nine socially responsible institutions, plus two up-and-comers and regional options.
NerdWallet rating: 3.5 stars
Overview: Founded in 1928 as a bank for local farms and families, Lead Bank has expanded its reach over time to help more communities in Missouri. The bank has two locations in the state — Kansas City and Lee's Summit — and offers a solid digital experience for its national customers, including a live chat function. In addition, it has a straightforward lineup of checking and savings accounts and CDs.
Impact: Lead Bank focuses its impact on three areas: women and children in crisis, economic inclusion, and arts and culture in Kansas City and Lee's Summit. The bank partners with local organizations through volunteering, donations and sitting on their leadership boards. In addition to its membership in the Global Alliance, Lead Bank was recognized as the Small Business of the Year by Kansas City's Chamber of Commerce in 2018 for its dedication to supporting the community.
Accounts: Lead On Checking, Lead On Savings, CDs.
Certification: Member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.
- No monthly fees or minimum monthly balances on basic checking and savings.
- Has live chat and well-rated mobile apps.
- Free nationwide ATM network.
- Low rates on savings and CDs; the Lead On Savings rate is close to the national average rate of 0.06%.
- $30 fee per overdraft; $10 fee per overdraft-related transfer from savings to checking.
- Website doesn't disclose rates or overdraft fees.