6 Banks That Don’t Fund The Dakota Access Pipeline – Seattle Edition

First the good news…

Congratulations Seattle! Your city was the first to divest from Wells Fargo over the Dakota Access Pipeline (shout out to Davis, CA for being the second) – pulling $3B of the city’s deposits from the bank in the process!


Unfortunately, while this great news was coming out from the Emerald City, the news out of Standing Rock was more urgent. The Army Corps of Engineers granted the easement for DAPL to continue drilling and word has leaked that that drilling began immediately thereafter.


So if you are excited by the actions of Seattle, now is as good a time as ever to join the effort to support the Water Protectors by moving your money from the banks funding the pipeline. You have the power to make a clear statement to say that DAPL and any future projects like it will not be completed in your name and certainly not with your money.



After deciding to withdraw your money from these banks, the natural question you’re probably asking yourself is: what banks can I move my money to?


Luckily, there are many banks that you can “swich” to 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 the five criteria above, we scored several banks and credit unions on a scale of 0-10 where 0 is least socially responsible and 10 is most socially responsible. Here are some specific suggestions for better banks for folks in Seattle. For more suggestions, including in other places besides Seattle, check out this article our founder wrote for YES! Magazine, this post on better banks in NYC, or search for one on SWICH!


Beneficial State Bank

Community Bank

Beneficial State Bank (formerly One PacificCoast Bank) is a B Corp and a member of the Global Alliance For Banking On Values. The bank is devoted to the philosophy of “harm to none” and operates under a unique ownership structure where all profits are given to the Beneficial State Foundation with a mission to “create, guide and promote a beneficial banking model that transforms the banking industry.” BSB is headquartered in Oakland, but has branches in the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle and Portland, as well as several other cities in California, including Los Angeles and Sacramento.


Founded by Boeing employees in 1935, BECU (not affiliated with Boeing) has expanded membership to a much broader group of people – including anyone that lives, works, worships or attends school in Washington state. With almost 50 locations, 950,000 members and over $15B in assets, BECU is one of the largest credit unions in the country. As such, it offers many services, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, IRAs, home loans, auto loans, small business banking and financial education. It also has a mobile app and an extensive ATM network.


Verity Credit Union

Credit Union

Verity Credit Union was started in 1933 to federal and military families in Washington. Now membership is also open to anyone with a Washington state driver’s license (and even more people than that!). The bank provides all typical banking services – personal and business banking, loans, wealth management and credit cards. It also made our knees buckle to see it as one of the few financial institutions we’ve come across that had bike loans. Anyone wanna ride a tandem with us?


Headquartered in Mountain View, CA, First Tech Credit Union is a large credit union with extensive reach. It has over 450,000 members, $10B in assets, and 40 branches located in Seattle, Oregon, Silicon Valley and Colorado. As with many credit unions, First Tech is plugged into a nationwide network of surcharge free ATMs. Membership is open to people who work or live in the areas they serve and as well as employees of numerous sponsor companies ranging from Microsoft to Converse. And they have a pretty good mobile app to if that’s your thing!


Express Credit Union

Credit Union

A credit union that is mission-oriented, Express states that their “focus is on providing low and moderate income families affordable financial services as a secure alternative to banks, payday lenders and check cashers.” Express provides financial counseling and products that serve that mission, including immigration financing. The credit union is small, but what it is setting out to achieve is mighty!


Salal Credit Union

Credit Union

Solar and weed. Salal does way more than this of course – personal and business banking, including using its unique experience as a credit union started for healthcare professionals to provide loans to the healthcare industry. But Salal also provides financing for solar panel installation, which is cool. And it also has banking services and financing available for the cannabis industry, which is cooler. It also explains the green leaf logo…or so we’re told!


+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 Seattle or elsewhere, we’d love to hear from you so that we can share those as well! And 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!


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


Cover image credit: Los Angeles Times