This post was originally shared in our email newsletter on October 13, 2023.
When we talk about our “regenerative” vision, it goes beyond the idea of regenerative agriculture and how our products are made. It spans the whole range of our stakeholders, activities, and impacts.
There is one area of impact that gets very little coverage but has a huge influence on the world around us. It may appear deeply boring on the surface, but it has the ability to deeply impact us positively or negatively: banking.
Whether we like it or not (personally I don’t love it but that’s irrelevant), the hyper-financialization of our economy over the past few decades has completely disconnected us from how our savings are used. Banks use our deposits to make investments, which is how they make their profits. But we usually have no idea what our deposits are actually funding (spoiler: it’s usually not great).
With that in mind, we set out a few years ago to find a way to bank that aligned with our values. We found a resurgent world of cooperative banks. Among the different legal forms they can take is a mutual savings bank.
In the meantime, my friend and long-time thought partner on these questions, Charley, had been working on something remarkable. Last year, after years of hard work, he helped found the first new mutual bank in the United States in over a half century: meet our new bank, Walden Mutual.
Whereas corporate banks continue to finance massive expansion of the fossil fuel industry, Walden has a cooperative structure and only lends to 100% mission-aligned borrowers with a focus on farms, local food businesses, nonprofits, and other sustainable businesses, like Keap.
Beyond aligning with our values, the switch has completely changed our relationship to banking. Walden are partners that truly understand our work and seek to help us thrive in the long term. Meanwhile, there is absolutely nothing that we’ve lost from the switch. Their customer service is human, and quite a lot like Keap’s! I can’t say enough how big a contrast it has been to working with a faceless corporation.
I really want to help get their story out there, and as I discussed it with Charley, he created some exciting perks for Keapers who are interested in joining us in shifting their banking to Walden. More details below.
Have you been thinking about where your money is stored and how it’s being used by your bank?
Do you currently bank with a cooperative bank (either a mutual saving bank, a credit union, or something else)?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Wishing you a beautiful weekend ahead,
— Harry from Keap, Steward-Owner
Walden Mutual <> Keap perks: Keap customers who open and fund ($100) an account at Walden get a $100 Keap gift card (use promo code “KEAP”). Walden also provides 10% in cashback on all purchases from Keap made with a Walden Mutual debit card. If you’re interested in making the switch, I’m happy to answer any questions you have about our experience with Walden. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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