...And we're off!
Why do we demand more from the brands that we associate with for clothing than we do from our bank? Perhaps it is because we don’t wear our bank brand on our sleeves. This is unfortunate though, because where you bank matters: the top-5 global banks invested just under $1 trillion in fossil fuel development since 2016, when the Paris Agreement was adopted. What happens to your idle money can be many times more impactful than your day-to-day purchasing.
Indeed, if you’re looking to make an impact with your investable dollars, you may have to look further than “ESG” (Environmental, Social, Governance) funds, despite their popularity. Many of them are built from hundreds of component stocks, most of which are hardly considered to be at the vanguard of social impact.
Meanwhile, food and farm businesses in New England are thriving. New England is experiencing a renaissance in local agriculture in which the average age of farmers is declining, and the number of farms is increasing, unlike other regions of the country, where those trends are going the opposite direction. Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island all rank in the top-10 for the highest percentage of beginning farmers. But the existing lending system for farms and food businesses does not explicitly support farming in sync with nature. Regenerative production methods and organic transitions, for example, can take years to result in more productive soils, which doesn’t always match a traditional lending structure.
Hence what we’re building: a new mutual bank (the first new mutual bank charter in New Hampshire since 1922) that aims to make New England into the mecca of local, sustainable agriculture, by connecting these dots. The mutual structure - in which the bank is owned by the depositors - is uniquely suited to build an institution that can truly focus on the long term. Our hope is to reinvigorate this age-old governance model for the modern era, focusing on digital first products, supported by amazing relationship-based member service.
Oh, and why birch trees? The New Hampshire state tree, White Birch are known as the “pioneer species” due to their ability to grow where other trees cannot. Its distinctive white bark can light a fire even if soaking wet, and Ojibwe folklore held that birch trees were immune to lightning strikes. In Celtic Lore, birch trees carried ancient wisdom, but appeared forever young… a perfect metaphor for rejuvenating an age-old concept.
There’s still a long road ahead to receiving a bank charter and FDIC insurance (read: permission to operate a bank) - but in the meantime we hope you choose to join our mailing list below (although no need to do it twice if you already did on the front page!)