6 Better Banks To SWICH To That Don’t Fund The Dakota Access Pipeline

You celebrated when the pipeline permit was denied at Standing Rock. But you also know that the fight is not over. You have a long memory of the militarizedsuppressiontactics. that were used against the water protectors. And all along, you wanted to not only stop DAPL, but also prevent corporations from trampling on civil rights and the environment and putting $$$ before people and planet in the future. And now, Trump’s got us facing the same battle as before. Just even more urgent.


So what to do? You can join our growing community of people that are using our consumer power as a form of economic resistance and change how business is done in general! And if you are looking for action to take specific to the continued efforts against DAPL, a great place to start is answering the question: Is your bank funding the pipeline?


If so…….believe it or not, you’re actually in luck. That just means you’ve got some (consumer) power to help make changes!



You can also move your money and “swich” to banks that have a positive impact on their communities…and as a result, increase the positive impact you have on your community as well. In general, local credit unions are your best bet. Our specific criteria at SWICH also checks whether the bank is independent or has outside investors and owners. Then we check if they received stamps of approval by trusted third parties, such as B Lab, a nonprofit that measures whether for-profit companies meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency, and certifies them as B Corps.


We also then explore how the banks impact communities in the following areas:

  • Health: Does the bank offer financial literacy, debt reduction, and other such services?
  • Environment: What percentage of loans are made to companies involved in fossil fuel projects?
  • Local: What percentage of loans are made to local small businesses in the community?
  • Workers: Does the bank pay a living wage and hire within the community?
  • Citizenship: What percentage of account holders are from the immediately surrounding community? And what percentage of the bank’s profits go to charitable endeavors?

Based on our research, here are some specific suggestions for better banks for folks in NYC. For more suggestions, including in other places besides NYC, check out this article our founder wrote for YES! Magazine.


Servicing those who work, live, worship, volunteer or attend school in the LES, Central Harlem and East Harlem as well as all NYC residents that make less than $38K, LES People’s Federal Credit Union is committed to community development and financial literacy for low income, immigrant and underserved communities.


Neighborhood Trust FCU

Credit Union

Residents of Washington Heights, Inwood and West Harlem are eligible to become members of Neighborhood Trust FCU. The non-profit arm, Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners has a mission of providing financial literacy and empowerment as well as debt reduction services to thousands of New Yorkers.


With branch locations in Bed-Stuy and Bushwick, Brooklyn Coop FCU is very much devoted to investing in Brooklyn, providing many types of loans including credit building loans, small business loans and mortgages. The credit union also has a non-profit arm, Grow Brooklyn, which provides free tax prep, homeownership and foreclosure prevention counseling, and legal services for financial matters to its members.


One of only 24 Black-owned banks (EDIT: After the financial crisis, Carver recieved a bailout from a group led by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup. As a result, the bank is Black-run, but no longer Black-owned.), Carver is now returning to its roots of providing smaller loans to small businesses and community members. That means that your deposits are more likely to be used to help your local community!


The largest mutual savings bank in New York State, Ridgewood Savings Bank operates 35 branches across New York City’s five boroughts, Long Island, and Westchester County.


Amalgamated Bank is the nation’s largest union-owned bank and is known for its socially responsible efforts – from raising its minimum wage to $15 last year, and recently committing to change its operations and portfolio to combat climate change. The latter was enough to get a shout out from Bill McKibben. And for more street cred, the bank was the preferred bank of Occupy Wall St as well!


+1: That’s just a small sample of a few great better banks and credit unions. Check out one that works best for you. And if you know of more options in NYC or elsewhere, we’d love to hear from you so that we can share those as well!


#SwichToBetter today to vote with your $$$ for #NoDAPL


Cover image credit: Newsweek