Courtesy of Sunrise Banks
Bryan Toft , chief revenue officer , Sunrise Banks . “ People work for a paycheck , of course , but there is also an emotional element as well , just as important . It is fascinating to watch people join the organization and engage .”
the energy was palpable . We have purpose-driven passionate people .”
In 2009 , Sunrise Banks became one of the first banks to be certified as a B corp . Today it has four standard branches around Minneapolis and St . Paul , as well as a corporate office in Sioux Falls , South Dakota , that oversees its financial technology partnerships . Sunrise reports $ 2 billion in assets and has more than 300 employees .
Bryan Toft , chief revenue officer , was with the bank when it first achieved B corp certification , but was not involved in that initiative . “ I was a commercial loan officer working with small business , and from that perspective I could see that B corp status made perfect sense based on the values of the bank .” In the intervening years , he left Sunrise and returned twice ; each time the principles that underscore the B corp process were part of what drew him back , he said .
“ Internally the number one benefit we gain from being a B corp is how it enables us to acquire and retain talented and engaged people at all levels ,” said Toft . “ Often people tell us ‘ I heard about your bank , and learned more , and was just waiting for an opportunity to join .’ People work for a paycheck , of course ; there is always the financial element to work . But there is also an emotional element as well , just as important . It is fascinating to watch
people join the organization and engage .” The bank ’ s B corp status has also helped employee retention . “ We have not experienced much of the Great Resignation ,” said Toft . “ There is always some low level of turnover for individual and personal reasons , but even in those cases , when people leave , they sometimes come back . I did it twice ,” he laughed .
As with most B corp banks , Sunrise is also involved in complimentary financial programs . Sunrise was designated a Community Development Financial Institution ( CDFI ) by the US Treasury in 2001 , eight years before it became a B corp . CDFIs are required to make at least 60 % of their loans in low- to moderate-income areas .
“ We have expertise and experience in multiple funding sources for low-to-moderate income lending and are also strong on diversity ,” said Toft . Those capabilities enable us to check many of the B corp criteria as well .”
Sunrise joined the Global Alliance for Banking on Values ( GABV ) in 2013 , and David Reiling , chairman , president and CEO of Sunrise , became chairman of GABV in 2021 . “ The goal of that alliance is to change the banking system . Internally at Sunrise Banks , we approach economic , social and environmental issues as all part of sustainability ,” said Toft . An example of those efforts is Sunrise ’ s internal Justice , Equity , Diversity and Inclusion ( JEDI ) committee .
Toft also noted the Sunrise entrepreneurial spirit in the early adoption of those initiatives . “ When we joined GABV , there were only 60 member institutions in the entire world . And when we became a CDFI in 2001 we were early in that program as well . Those programs make sense for who we are and what we do , and B corp certification is a continuation of that .”
B corp certification is a global initiative , and Sunrise has been named among the best in the world in the financial category for nine years in a row by B Lab . Putting a new spin on the doing-well-by-doing-good model , Toft noted that B corp status has a similar resonance for customer attraction and retention as it does for employees .
“ People become interested in who we are and what we do ,” said Toft . “ I know personally people who have come to us for loans or deposits because we are a B corp .”
Amalgamated Bank is celebrating its centennial this year . Founded by organized labor as “ New York ’ s labor bank ,”
Ivan Frishberg , chief sustainability officer , Amalgamated Bank . “ We lean into the intersection of doing well and doing good . The commonly cited trade-off between making returns and doing the right thing is a myth .”
on April 14 , 1923 , it now styles itself “ America ’ s socially responsible bank .” With a balance sheet of $ 8 billion and $ 15 billion under administration , it is equivalent to a good-sized regional . Amalgamated was certified as a B corp in 2017 , and is by all accounts the largest B corp bank in the United States . There was a limited public offering in 2018 , with labor unions retaining 40 % ownership today .
“ We lean into the intersection of doing well and doing good ,” said Ivan Frishberg , chief sustainability officer . “ The commonly cited trade-off between making returns and doing the right thing is a myth . We have proven that a bank can do well by doing the right thing . In recent decades , we have put a lot of effort into addressing racial and wealth inequality .”
Amalgamated ’ s clients are both retail and commercial , with a heavy focus on non-profits , sustainable businesses , labor and political organizations . It acquired the New Reserve Bank of California and today has offices in New York , Massachusetts , California and Washington , DC .
Far from being a staid centenarian , Amalgamated gives the impression of becoming more agile as it ages . In the space of just a few years , it achieved B corp certification , made a national acquisition then an IPO , then capped the flurry of activity by modifying its corporate structure and governing documents to a PBC in 2019 .
Courtesy of Amalgamated Bank
34 FINANCIAL HISTORY | Winter 2023 | www . MoAF . org