By Emily Vidovich. Emily has a background in environmental journalism and sustainability and is a member of the George Washington University Class of 2019.

On January 12th, Beneficial State Bank celebrated the grand opening of an office at the AltaSea campus in the Port of Los Angeles. At this new location, the bank will provide commercial loan production services to local clients.

Beneficial State Bank’s new office located at AltaSea. Photos by Arturo Garcia-Ayala

According to Monique Johnson, the senior vice president of the bank, there are also plans to teach financial education classes at the AltaSea campus. Johnson hopes that the bank’s presence there will connect AltaSea’s STEM and workforce readiness programs with a financial partner. 

Johnson notes that a sustainable financial industry is integral to achieving a future where there is prosperity for both people and the planet, and Beneficial State Bank plans to showcase its approach to equitable banking at the AltaSea campus.

The bank originated in 2007 as a subsidiary of a charitable foundation founded by billionaire and former presidential candidate Tom Steyer and his wife Kat Taylor. The couple envisioned a ‘non-profit community development bank;’ one that financed non-profit organizations and reinvested profits into the community. The name ‘Beneficial State Bank’ was chosen to reflect the bank’s mission of pursuing economic justice and environmental sustainability as it provides commercial banking services in underserved communities across California, Oregon, and Washington State. 

In an email interview, Johnson explained that the bank’s approach, which the organization refers to as ‘beneficial banking,’ is to have, “a net-positive impact on our communities and the planet.”

Since its inception, the bank has emphasized financing nonprofits, including organizations in both blue and green economic sectors. By supporting families, businesses, and nonprofits in communities that face systemic discrimination by the financial system at large, the bank is contributing to ending cyclical poverty. Johnson says that the bank intends to bring the poverty-fighting benefits of its community banking model to the diverse, low-income neighborhoods adjacent to the Port of Los Angeles.

“Our long-term vision is an economy that restores our planet and extends prosperity to all. To get there, we need to engage deeply in sustainable and regenerative endeavors and spaces. I can’t think of a better alignment than to be present at the AltaSea campus,” Johnson stated.

Kat Taylor speaking at the event celebrating Beneficial State Bank’s opening on the AltaSea campus. Photos by Arturo Garcia-Ayala

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