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July 25, 2012
Nonprofits are used to being low on the list of a bank’s priorities, especially if they aren’t large organizations with multi-million-dollar operating budgets. The experience is just the opposite at New Resource, the bank’s nonprofit clients say.
“We are treated like highly valued clients,” says Kyle Salyer, executive vice president of finance and operations at MicroCredit Enterprises, which extends small business loans to thousands of rural poor in developing countries. “At New Resource, we are important and high profile, and we’d never get that with a large multinational bank.”
New Resource Vice President and Relationship Manager Gary Groff sums up the bank’s approach as “mission alignment.” The nonprofits New Resource works with are a coveted market for the bank because they share its goals of protecting the environment and promoting social and economic change. The bank's nonprofit service package—and the customer service it comes with—followed naturally. “We created a specific package for nonprofits to try to cover all their needs,” Groff says, “like discounts on premium services such as remote deposit capture. And we aim to make it a true partnership.”
For example, New Resource donates $25 to nonprofit customers for every checking account their employees and friends open and maintain for six months. The bank recently updated its nonprofit service package, reducing the minimum deposit required to avoid paying a monthly service charge and making other improvements.
Collaborative approach appeals to nonprofits
That partnership takes many forms. A number of staff members at the bank volunteer with clients and other nonprofits or sit on their boards, so they know the nonprofit world from the inside. Groff sits on the boards of San Francisco Baykeeper and SFMade, and is an advisor to Pacific Community Ventures and Sustainable Surf. New Resource also regularly lends its space to nonprofits for board meetings or events. This fosters sharing of ideas and makes New Resource a hub for innovative solutions to common nonprofit problems.
New Resource works hard to find unique, nonprofit-friendly ways to structure loan agreements and lines of credit. For example, Groff notes the bank was able to secure a nonprofit's construction loan based on capital campaign pledges (read the story). The bank’s lending process happens in close collaboration with the organization and takes its mission into account.
“From the first conversation with New Resource, it was apparent they would be a great and very different bank to work with,” Salyer says. “They immediately understood our mission and why we do the work we do. With other banks, we’d have to spend the first two hours explaining ourselves, but New Resource got it right away.”