We're the bank for people who care what their money does in the world. When you deposit your money at Amalgamated, it supports sustainable organizations, progressive causes, and social justice. We are committed to environmental and social responsibility. We're net-zero and powered by 100% renewable energy, and we have a long, proud history of providing affordable access to the banking system, supporting immigrants and affordable housing, and being a champion of workers' rights.
Unions are rare in financial services, but there are exceptions, including Amalgamated Bank in New York, which was founded by a labor union in 1923. The $870 million-asset Bank of Labor in Kansas City, Kansas, was founded by a labor union in 1924 and has been affiliated with the United Mine Workers of America since August 2011. A more recent example is Beneficial State Bank in Oakland, California, where employees voted to form a union in March 2020 after CWA representatives approached the $1.5 billion-asset bank’s executives about the possibility of forming a labor organization for staff. The bank agreed upon a finalized contract last September. “I think the biggest thing was that people [were] not being listened to and our experiences not taken into account on how to be treated,” said Michelle Hunt, a relationship banker at Beneficial. After signing, the bank instituted changes in its minimum wage, training, retirement programs and more. It also created a labor-management committee to give union members a forum for voicing concerns and suggesting changes.
If it seems like you're hearing a lot more about environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in banking these days, it's not your imagination—the topic has rapidly gained prominence across the industry in 2021 and will likely become even more important in years to come. The growing focus on climate risk has spurred banks (and their regulators) to more closely examine their environmental exposures—how rising sea levels and changing weather patterns might affect their existing loan portfolios. They're also reconsidering their support of companies and projects that generate substantial carbon emissions. Amalgamated Bank, based in New York, is part of a consortium of banks that disclose the greenhouse gas emissions of their loans and investments. A bank executive told Lawler that close to 25% of its loan portfolio is directed toward climate solutions, and the percentage may go up. “We have a bounty of clients looking to solve the world’s problems and looking to partner with us,” the executive says.
Amalgamated Financial in New York is acquiring Amalgamated Investments Co., the parent of Amalgamated Bank of Chicago, for $98.1 million in cash. While their names and missions are similar, the two companies are not affiliated. Both companies emphasize environmental, social and governance missions, serving nonprofit organizations and unions. Together, the companies said they would also serve political organizations and philanthropies that support environmental sustainability and social enterprises. "This acquisition aligns with our disciplined strategy of pursuing accretive opportunities that allow us to expand geographically, strengthen our financial resources and increase our customer base while leveraging our unique expertise in operating as an ESG-driven bank," Priscilla Sims Brown, Amalgamated Financial's president and CEO, said in a press release Wednesday.