Social change is pushing financial services in new directions. Social consciousness reached a new level during the pandemic. Consumers want to support businesses that share their values and understand who they are. Many consumers now look at a company’s marketing messages, political views, and social views when deciding where to do business.
These changing attitudes and expectations, along with technology advancements, are creating positive changes in banking and opportunities for historically underserved, underbanked and overlooked communities.
Here are 5 examples of companies that represent social change in financial services and are making a difference to underserved groups:
- OneUnited Bank
OneUnited is the first black digital bank and the largest black owned bank in the country. OneUnited is dedicated to serving the Black community, closing the racial and generational wealth gap, and starting initiatives to grow financial literacy and access in the Black Community. Also serving the black community are First Boulevard and Greenwood.
First Boulevard is a digital neo bank with a similar mission to OneUnited Bank with an additional focus on supporting Black colleges and Universities. It is expected to launch soon.
Greenwood is another start-up that is still in the pre-launch phase. It is a digital bank for Black and Latinx people and business owners. It too will look to fill the gap between traditional banking and the Black community.
All of these organizations are extremely community focused and strive to make an impact by giving back to their communities.
Daylight is the first and only digital banking platform built by the queer community for the queer community. Their goal is help LGBTQ+ create smarter money habits with a specific focus on saving habits, which lag behind those of other Americans. Daylight is personalizing banking for LGBTQ+ by rewarding spending in line with values, allowing a chosen (not birth name) on debit cards, providing paycheck advances, guidance and encouragement for savings goals specific to queer community, and paying it forward by making charitable donations with each new customer sign up. Daylight has not officially launched, but people can join a customer waitlist on their website.
Euphoria.LGBT is a mobile development company that created a savings app called Bliss. The goal of Bliss is to help transgender individuals save for their transition costs. Unlike typical savings apps, Bliss understands the complexity and cost of gender transition and helps create a financial plan that includes a budget and goals. The app is not yet live, but customers can preregister on their website.
- First Women’s Bank
First Women’s Bank (FWB) is the first bank in the U.S. to be founded, owned and led by women. Even though 51% of the population are women, they are still an underserved demographic. For example, women-owned businesses are growing 2 times faster than the national average, yet they receive only 16% of conventional business loans. FWB is trying to close the gender gap and bring together women entrepreneurs and business owners. Their mission is to grow the economy and advance the role of women within it.
- Native American Bank
Indigenous communities are the most unbanked in the U.S. Historically high poverty rates, unemployment and systematic racism have created barriers to financial capital and credit. Long distances to ATMs and banks and limited access to high speed internet hinder both in person and online banking. Native American Bank is the only national Native American owned community development bank majority owned by tribal interests. This bank has been around longer (founded in 2001) than the other organizations listed above. However, the financial disparities and the need are still great for Indigenous communities. Native American Bank specializes in overcoming barriers, understanding lending, and the cultural and legal realities of the Native community.
Corporate social responsibility will continue to be a top goal for traditional financial institutions. We can also expect to see these organizations offering more novel products and inclusive services to reach underserved communities.