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First GREEN Bank

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Company: First GREEN Bank, Mount Dora, FL
Entry Submitted By: Uproar PR
Company Description: First GREEN Bank was organized by a team of experienced banking executives in Central Florida, each with an environmental passion and mission. As “a local bank with a global mission,” First GREEN Bank adheres to a values- based business model which endeavors to do the right thing for the environment, and the company’s people, community and shareholders.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Company of the Year – Banking

Nomination Title: First GREEN Bank

Tell the story about what this nominated organization has achieved since January 1 2015 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

Founded in 2009 by CEO Ken LaRoe and a team of experienced banking executives, First GREEN Bank was the first bank on the country’s East Coast with a stated values proposition and the last bank chartered during the 2008 recession. From its inception, First GREEN Bank has strived to uphold its values, proving that successful businesses can also be socially responsible.

This past year, the bank has forged key relationships with organizations, implemented initiatives that continue to improve the lives of employees, and received numerous accolades for its business practices. 2015 marked a successful year for First GREEN Bank, further proving that LaRoe’s vision for a financial institution that is both profitable and responsible, is a sustainable business model.

Early in 2015, First GREEN Bank announced a partnership with the Capital Institute, a national organization with a goal to explore the economic transition and effect a more just, regenerative and sustainable way to help spread its mission. Through the “Year in the Life of a Regenerative Bank” project, the Capital Institute has followed First GREEN Bank’s endeavors, exploring the different ways in which finance and banking tools can be used—not for short-term financial gain—but to support the regeneration of our communities and economies.

The bank also partnered with local organizations to help spread awareness for the severity of brain injury throughout the Central Florida community. To do this, First GREEN Bank hosted its first annual Art of Medicine Gala. During the event, artwork from local physicians was auctioned off, raising over $118,000 in funding for traumatic brain injury research to benefit the Brain Injury Association of Florida, Florida Hospital Neuroscience Institute, and the University of Florida Health Center for Movement Disorders & Neurorestoration.

In an effort to promote a more environmentally conscious community, First GREEN Bank led by example, completely renovating its Ormond Beach Branch to be more sustainable. The renovations included the installation of a 20.14 kilowatt solar panel system and a permeable parking lot, which allows rain to soak into the ground. The bank is aiming for a Green Globes certification for the branch, a nationally recognized green rating assessment and certification program.

While supporting the community and environment is of the utmost importance to First GREEN Bank, the organization also places an emphasis on valuing its employees. Beginning in October of 2014, the bank implemented the area’s first Living Wage Program, offering a minimum of $30,000 yearly salary for all employees. In 2015, the bank increased its minimum wage to $31,000 per year with the goal to continue increasing the minimum each year.

Under LaRoe’s leadership the bank has received outstanding recognition for its financial services, including the Bauer 5-star ranking, as well as top Texas ratio ratings from independent financial investment firms in the state each quarter since its inception. The bank has also been honored with numerous sustainability and business awards for its commitment to Central Florida’s economic well-being and expanding sustainability practices. In the past year alone, the bank has received several prestigious recognitions including the 2015 ACG SMART Award, Orlando Business Journal’s Fast 50 and Top Philanthropy-Volunteers List, American Banker’s Best Banks to Work for, BankNews’ Green Leaf Award, Inc. 5000 Award, Sustainable Florida Best Practices for both the Green Building and Small Business categories, and OUTSIDE Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work.

First GREEN Bank currently has assets over $385 million and has lent in excess of $321 million to local Florida businesses and citizens, and shows no signs of slowing its growth. This proves that the bank’s triple bottom line of doing the right thing for the planet, people and shareholders is a sustainable business model—one which LaRoe hopes will be adopted by more entrepreneurs.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief accomplishments of this organization since the beginning of 2015 (up to 150 words).

• Increased Living Wage program to $31,000 yearly salary
• Founder and CEO, Ken LaRoe named Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Orlando Business Journal’s CEO of the Year
• Included on OUTSIDE Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work list
• Hosted the first North American Global Alliance for Banking on Values Annual Metrics Meeting
• Raised more than $100K for the Brain Injury Association of Florida, Florida Hospital Neuroscience Institute, and the University of Florida Health Center for Movement Disorders & Neurorestoration through the Art of Medicine gala
• Partnered with the Capital Institute for “A Year in the Life of a Regenerative Bank” project
• Named a 2015 Sustainable Florida Best Practices & ACG SMART Award recipient
• Recognized on the Orlando Business Journal’s Fast 50 & Top Philanthropy-Volunteers List, Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 list, and American Banker’s Best Banks to Work For list
• Ranked as Deposit Account’s #57 healthiest bank in the nation

Of the following measures of success, which ONE do you want the judges to most appreciate about your organization's story of achievement since the beginning of 2015?
Corporate Social Responsibility