Banking Crisis Spells Opportunity for Environmentally Conscious E3 Bank

This may not seem like the best time to start a bank but, in fact, it’s an ideal time now that most banks are preoccupied. The NY Times recently reported that Alan Greenspan said, “If I were 50 years younger, I would start a bank.”

A few days ago, I watched an online investor presentation for E3 Bank; a new Pennsylvania startup that I believe will set the new socially responsible standard in banking.

The presentation began with The Evolution of the Earth that provided a context for life and business. The idea that we might need 11,000 coal fired power plants based on a projected 62% increase in energy demands over the next 20+ years is clearly unsustainable.

The great modern myth is that “we know what we’re doing and we are in control.” Dubai is a great example-getting bigger and better all the time with quality of life not really a consideration.

The real question is “do we know what we want?” And yes, we do know we want: clean air, water and soil and abundance. How we get there will be the responsibility of each of us in our personal and business lives.

E3 Bank is a new paradigm model of what banking must become if it is to serve people and the planet. If banks do not become triple bottom line oriented, they will lose business to those banks like E3 that are.

We are at a moment in history of incredible danger and extraordinary opportunity. Some view this time as one in which scarcity (scare city), abstinence and giving up things will reign. E3 sees things differently. They believe a future of prosperity lies before us and are dedicated to reframing a future of limits to one of unlimited possibility.

As evidence of this movement, they point to the geometric growth curve for green building and the $104 billion market for green products and services.

In the financial services sector, E3 sees an opportunity to lead the way through their
sustainability expertise and new methods of financing high efficiency buildings and other green business projects. The current banking crisis stemmed from one overriding strategy-make as much money as possible without regard to the consequences to people and the planet. E3 Bank’s mission is driven by a triple bottom line strategy (enterprise through sound investment in people and planet, protect the environment which supports life and the economy and equity in sustainable businesses).

Potential customers in Pennsylvania have indicated a willingness to switch banks operating ethically and with sound environmental principles. Out of 140,000 business people surveyed by the bank, 28,000 were likely to open accounts with E3 and out of 3.2 million households, one million were likely or highly likely to bank with E3.

Some of the innovative initiatives E3 will launch as part of their September 09 Grand Opening include:

Minimizing the Bank’s Real Estate Footprint
In the past banks were built to be large impressive buildings that offered clients the appearance of safety and soundness. As we have all learned, appearances may be deceiving. Banks also operated from top down. E3 will operate and incentivize customers to switch to their bank by providing innovative banking products and services. They realize that the greenest bank building is no building and so their vision is to provide best in class and first of kind business and personal banking solutions by turning each customer into a branch. In other words, all their services will be provided via users computers.

Check Writing
The old method of check writing involved customers writing checks and then having those checks transported back and forth between banks. By offering scanning of checks in the home or business, those transportation costs are eliminated thus reducing operating costs. The typical teller cost per transaction is $2.50 while E3’s remote deposits cost the bank less than one cent, further reducing costs.

When a bank customer spends money, their habits will be tracked with their permission into categories and the bank will make suggestions on reducing energy or other applicable issues that show up in excess spending.

Tiered Rates
E3 will offer tiered interest rates depending on your choice of the most environmentally efficient building standard. The higher the rating, the lower the interest rate. This makes the banks loan assets better risks than most bank portfolios. A new building with 30% higher efficiency provides 30% less operating expenses and becomes less susceptible to unexpected rate increases. The buildings lease faster with higher demand and rents while being seen as less risky by the regulating agencies.

Green Assist
E3 will provide value added resources to their customers like their Green Assist program that eliminates the confusion and frustration of figuring out how to pay for solar panels, find grants or local programs, etc. Instead, E3 will offer one stop shopping by providing financing, a list of qualified installers and filling out the paperwork to obtain applicable. rebates-a win-win proposition for the bank, the customer and the suppliers.

The press has jumped on the E3 story with coverage on CNN, Hufington Post, American Banker and Business Journal among others. They like the banks position as a thought leader dedicated to shifting to a new kind of banking based on true prosperity-living, working and playing more sustainability and transparently letting the world know how they are doing in all three areas. In many stock offerings, the small investor is normally left out. As a socially responsible bank, small investors are included with the smallest units being offered at $5000 rather than the usual $50,000. In order to allow more investors into the offering, the bank is also limiting its maximum investment to 9.9% of its $30 million total offering.

I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of bank I want to do business with. I’ll begin banking with E3 the day they open for business,

To learn more about the bank or their offering, visit the E3 website and if you are interested in investing, you can register for a future investor call at their site as well as apply to open an account in the future.


One Response to “Banking Crisis Spells Opportunity for Environmentally Conscious E3 Bank”

  1. CR12 said:

    May 26, 09 at 3:40 PM

    I have recently heard about e3 bank by seeing them all over the green ‘blogosphere’ people keep posting about them, looks to be a great company.