3 easy ways to know if your banking matches your values or not

Nov 5 2018, 6:19 pm

You know how it goes (typically on a bi-weekly basis): You get paid directly into your bank account, and then you sort out your expenses such as rent, utilities, groceries, insurance, etc. The next time you get paid, you do it all again.

Sure, there’s going to be those impromptu evenings when you go out for dinner on a whim or purchase a gift for a friend’s birthday. These are the moments you tap your card to pay without a second thought.

But what if you stopped to think about more than the simplicity of these transactions? To think about how your banking actually affects your life and your community. November 8 was “Banking on Values Day,” a day that encourages you to stop and consider your values, and ask whether your bank shares the same standards and principles that you do.

Feeling a little puzzled about to where to start? We’ve teamed up with Vancity to explain three ways to tell if your money is helping the communities and causes you care about.

Let’s start with the “why”

To give you a bit of background, Banking on Values Day was created by the Global Alliance for Banking on Values — a not-for-profit alliance of banking leaders and changemakers from around the world, which aims to make banking more transparent and aims to use finance to support economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

This independent network is made up of 54 global financial institutions and 10 strategic partners. In BC, Vancity is the only member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. and was the first financial institution in Canada asked to join the Alliance.

1. Your financial institution makes a difference in your community

Whether you’re diligently saving your money or you only have a simple chequing account, you’re trusting this financial institution with your money.  So shouldn’t you trust it to care about your community too? Are they just giving away money, which anyone can do, or are they investing in people and businesses that can really make a positive difference?

One way Vancity invests in healthy communities is by investing in local organizations that work to provide affordable housing. In 2017, the credit union funded almost 3,000 units of affordable housing. This includes emergency and homeless shelters, transition housing, non-profit or subsidized housing, co-op housing, rental housing, life leases, and property ownership.

2. Your deposits help local businesses

When you can help make your community a better place simply by banking — something you do every day — it’s a pretty awesome thing. Vancity’s business model puts your deposits to use by funding loans to local businesses that are working to create positive, sustainable change. This means you make money while making where you live better – a unique bonus of values-based banking.

Some of the sustainability-focused businesses you’re directly impacting when you bank with Vancity include Smash + TessTacofinoJuice TruckSoap Dispensary, Farmers Markets, Modo Co-operative and Skwachays Lodge which supports social housing, Indigenous artists, and culture.

3. You can see some of yourself in your financial institution

Do you choose to eat organic or local food? Do you try to shop at local stores and buy fair trade brands? Do you bike to work? If you are making some of these conscious decisions, why not add banking to this list?

If you would be upset to learn that your money is funding unethical industries like tobacco, weapons and fossil fuels, maybe it is time to re-think where you bank. It is a nice feeling to take pride in what your money supports; whether it is a new shirt, a meal out, or the logo on your debit card.

“It’s just like anything else. All financial choices represent your own personal values. You vote for what you want to see in the world; whether it’s where you choose to shop, what you choose to eat or the clothes you choose to wear. What does your bank represent? To me, Vancity supports community and small business that aligns with the values I’m looking for in a bank.” Zach Berman, Co-Founder of The Juice Truck.


Enter for your chance to win the following prize worth $389, courtesy of Vancity:

  • 1 x $100 Smash + Tess gift certificate
  • 1 x $100 Juice Truck gift certificate
  • A one-night stay (valued at $189) at Skwachays Lodge


See this post on Instagram to enter.

Find out more about values-based banking at Vancity and how it could benefit you.

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