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People, Planet, Profit—How Is Your Money Being Used?

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The term banking is used to describe the act of using your money for your own financial well-being. It could be saving money in a bank account, paying bills in online banking, or borrowing money for a home, vehicle, or for some other purpose.

When you bank, your money is used for purposes beyond your needs. Do you know how your money is being used by your credit union or bank, what greater purpose it is serving, or who is benefiting from the banking you do?

 

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There is a global movement happening right now in which banks, credit unions, BCorps and banking cooperatives from around the world are joining together to use banking for a greater social purpose. The movement is called “values-based banking.” When you practice values-based banking, you put your money in a financial institution that will use your money to create sustainable economic, social, and environmental impact by recirculating your dollars back into the real economy.

 

The real economy defined

The real economy is the part of the economy that produces or invests in goods and services that can actually be consumed by individuals (like chairs, food, haircuts, or local businesses that help communities thrive), versus a system that extracts money from the act of banking to buy or sell things consumed by the financial markets (like stocks and corporate profits). It’s based on the fundamentals of ethical banking where people are put before profit, democracy is expanded, transparency trumps secrecy, and where the resources of banking are put to use for the greater common good, with consumers as the vehicles for this change.

 

The triple bottom line of people, planet, profit

The values-based banking movement was born after the 2009 financial great recession with the creation of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). This global entity is composed of different types of financial organizations committed to redefining the purpose and impact of banking. GABV members, like VSECU, commit to creating positive change by moving a single point of view—profit—to a holistic view that also takes the environment and social prosperity into account. In other words, values-based organizations focus on people and the planet, as well as profit. This is called a triple bottom line and it is one of the founding principles of GABV.

 

When you bank with a values-based financial institution, you become part of a network that creates positive change through the simple act of banking!

 

Values-based banking is not a new concept for credit unions. Many of the principles supporting sustainable and values-based banking are inherently part of the credit union DNA. As financial cooperatives, they are democratically controlled and owned by their members, which pool their resources to benefit each other’s individual financial needs by saving with and borrowing from VSECU. The credit union can then leverage member resources to create a greater good with a social return for individuals and communities.

When you choose a values-based credit union or bank, your money impacts communities and benefits the people that live in those communities, which includes yourself. You can sleep well knowing that your money is being used to serve a purpose.

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