“Smart” Banks?

“Smart” Banks?

“Bank” used to be one of those oh-so-solid words that made you feel grounded. As in “bank on it” or “you can take it to the bank.” You could count on it.

But since the fall of 2008, the start of the Economic Collapse of the New Millennium, “bank” has taken on new, negative meanings.

“Bank” now stands for loan shark lending, IBG deals (“I’ll Be Gone” after the commission is booked), overleveraged assets, consumer gouging, and Just Plain Stupid business practices.

The wonderful term “zombie banks” has entered the language, describing institutions that are open for business—they look “alive”— but are paralyzed by their failed financial policies.

SustainLink is trying to change our view of all banks as working for the Dark Side by introducing a new phrase: “eco-intelligent banks.” By “eco-intelligent,” SustainLink means those select financial institutions with a commitment to sustainable practices.

 A research and score-carding firm, SustainLInk has launched a profiling service that reports on banks and credit unions that are doing good business in a good way. SustainLink reviews banks to evaluate them for their triple bottom line strategies. Only those that qualify as “eco-intelligent” are profiled on SustainLinks’ site.

The first group of these “smart banks” has been chosen. You can see the proud winners at www.sustainlink.net.

And since we’re talking about money, here’s where some financial advantage comes in. SustainLink also connects sustainable improvement to incentives for borrowers, including a lower cost of capital. That means business borrowers may qualify for lower interest rates if they improve in certain areas. Anyone up for some sustainable cheap money?

Estimates are that deposits into “eco-intelligent” banks will increase by 38% during the next year. It makes sense that the smart money will go into smart banks, such as those identified by SustainLink. You can count on it.