Bank offers 'green' option to customers

February 4, 2011 (CHICAGO)

That was the thought of two men who are the founders of the first Chicago-area lending institution that offers the choice of green banking. They were co-workers at a local bank that was purchased by a large chain. That crossroads sparked both men's curiosity about what's next. They wanted to find a way to get back to community lending while also being responsible to the planet. Three years later, they're offering you the choice to bank green.

The eco-advantages of the GreenChoice Bank start from the outside in. This new bank is actually a 100-year-old building that has been remodeled using earth-friendly materials, including a wood wall paneling reclaimed from an old turkey coop, glass wall framing salvaged from another office space and TV monitors made from recycled components. Even their new furniture is used -- saved from a landfill.

"Some of this stuff isn't mystery. It doesn't have to be so hard or expensive. There's things we can all do in our own backyards in our own businesses that are more responsible choices," said Jon Levey, co-founder, GreenChoice Bank.

Founders Jon Levey and Steve Sherman say their goal was not only to create a green structure but also to be eco-friendly in the business' operations and lending practices.

"We're really re-engineering the way our back office runs to be as paperless as possible, to be as mindful of where we source our materials, for example our debit cards are made of 100 percent recycled plastic," said Sherman.

In addition to touch-points that they've posted around the building to inform customers about their green efforts, they also want the benefits to trickle down to them in their banking.

"Customers who for example opt out of paper statements or who are building green, we can give them better terms on their loans or their checking account," said Sherman.

The GreenChoice bank has a second location in Lockport and it's planning to open its flagship at the Green Exchange in Logan Square later this year.

GreenChoice Bank

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