On Friday’s Marketplace program from American Public Media, I heard a story about a new bank , New Resource Bank, which specializes in making loans to clean energy companies. The Denver NPR station does not actually carry Marketplace, but I often listen to the podcast.
I’ve been looking for a new bank anyway… until now I’ve been using a brokerage account as my business account, but I am finding that the inability to wire funds makes it awkward.
On a financial level, their offerings seem uninspiring (in terms of interest earned on accounts.) For a business checking account like I am considering, I would need to maintain a balance of $4000 vs. a more normal $1000 to avoid monthly fees. That amounts to an annual cost in lost interest compared to the brokerage account I currently use of about $150-$200 a year (I keep excess cash in brokerage CDs earning around 5%), in exchange for the added convenience of ACH (Automated Clearing House) and EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer.) I also get the benefit of knowing my money is financing clean energy projects… certainly worth something. One thing I will have to ask them is if I can keep money in CDs with them that might count towards the $4000 minimum balance. [Note: I heard back from them on this: CDs do not count towards the $4000 minimum balance for their small business checking account… although they do for their heigher service account with a $20,000 minimum balance (to avoid fees). ]
If you’re looking for a banking services, from mortgages to CDs to savings or checking accounts, I always reccommend people do some comparison shopping at www.BankRate.com, but if you’re looking for a bank that will put your money to good use, you might also consider New Resource. I personally have lots of other green investments to put my money into, but for the money I leave in cash to run my business, New Resource seems like a good idea.
I apparently also missed Joel Makower’s article in October.
(And Preston at Jetson Green points out I missed his… Now that I see it, I think I remember reading it… all I can say is it was a very busy week.)