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Bringing our mission to a larger marketplace

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New Resource Bank

“Eventful” barely begins to describe New Resource Bank’s first three years—emerging from infancy into the biggest economic crisis in half a century was a huge challenge. But we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, and we see an even more compelling story unfolding over the next few years as we bring our mission to a larger marketplace.

How will that play out? Re:new editors asked President and CEO Vince Siciliano and founder and Vice Chairman Peter Liu to share their vision for growth.

 

What does it mean to bring the mission to the marketplace?

Vince: We’re targeting all those who want to make their community more sustainable. We’re serving cleantech and green businesses, but we’re also looking to support community development, nonprofits, and consumers who want to be more sustainable in their own practices.

Peter: The big opportunity is to help our clients accomplish their mission. We have clients who are very inspirational and are pursuing healthier, greener, and more efficient alternatives. When we help them grow and make a deeper impact, we serve our mission. The New Resource community of clients also provides green resources that we can make available to people who are not engaged in green business.

Another example is, we have recent college graduates and young professionals who are building their personal savings with us. The money they’re depositing becomes a new resource for their future. If they weren’t taking account of where that money goes, it could very well be funding things like tar sands oil extraction.

 

What’s the foundation for the bank’s expansion?

Peter: We’re pleased with our growth—despite the fact that we didn’t project an economic crisis in our first three-year plan.

We’ve been able to add value to the Bay Area’s transition to a green economy. We’ve rolled out products, like our Solar CD and loans to solar companies, that rely on sound business concepts but provide a new opportunity to help solar companies build sales. We were the first to develop a mechanism for residential customers to get solar with no money down. And our green building program has been copied by other banks, giving people who build green a better deal.

We’ve also been surprised by the number of personal banking clients we’ve attracted—that speaks to how people are thinking about their banking in terms of consistency with their values.

Vince: We’ve developed an amazing amount of goodwill. I’m impressed with how many people know and support us and want us to be successful. That’s true locally but also nationally. People are very interested in the idea of the triple bottom line and how we can advance that.

 

As more green banks emerge, and traditional banks develop green divisions, how will New Resource distinguish itself?

Peter: It does seem like the banking world is coming toward us. There are some very serious green bank startup efforts, and major banks have copied some of our programs. That’s good—it means we’re onto something that adds value.

But if they copy our version 1.0, we’ll continue to stand on quality execution while working on version 2.0. We’re going to challenge ourselves to be more knowledgeable about our focus areas and more value-added.

Vince: As we go forward with this idea of being a new resource, I hope people will talk to us about more than financial issues, and that we can work not just on reduce, reuse, and recycle, but on more fundamental concepts like rethink, rebuild, and renew. That’s exciting—there are no limits beyond our ability to think and interact.

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