Unhappy with your bank? Here are some ethical options

A growing number of Australians are looking for a more ethical alternative to their current bank, but knowing where to start can be difficult. To help kick off your search, we’ve compiled a selection of Aussie banks and products you can feel good about signing up with.

Bank Australia

Few financial institutions in the country have made responsible investing such a core part of their business model and public image as Bank Australia. The bank only lends to industries that advance social and environmental causes, meaning things like firearms, tobacco, fossil fuels and live animal exports are strictly off limits.

Its Clean Energy Home Loan also rewards customers that plan to buy a home that meets a high standard of energy efficiency. If your home ticks the right boxes, you might be eligible for a 0.40% p.a. discount for up to five years.

Teachers Mutual Bank

Another worthy mention is Teachers Mutual Bank, which has been recognised as one of the world’s most ethical companies’ by the Ethisphere Institute for eight straight years. This year, it was one of only five banks across the world to earn a place on the list.

It’s also the only Australian bank to receive Certification from the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia for all retail products deposits, mortgages and wholesale funding. As Teachers Mutual CEO, Steve James says, “Every single mortgage product we sell is socially responsible at no extra cost to our members.”

UBank Green Term Deposit

UBank has been spending a lot of time listening to their customers, and they’ve learned that climate change ranks pretty high on their list of priorities. That’s why their new Green Term Deposit is so appealing. Stash your savings in this one and an equal amount of funds will be set aside for investing in climate-friendly projects, like wind and solar energy, and low carbon transport and buildings. 

CommBank 0.99% Green Loan

Recently, CBA announced it will be launching the CommBank Green Loan to help Australians install eligible small-scale renewable technologies in their home. It will be available to CommBank home loan and investment home loan customers, and will sport a low 0.99% p.a. secured fixed rate.

BankFirst Green Personal Loan & Police Bank Green Loan

A few more banks offer reduced rates for personal loans to make your home more environmentally friendly. These include the Bank First Green Personal Loan, which comes with a 7.20% p.a. interest rate (8.59% p.a. comparison rate*), and the Police Bank Green Loan, which comes with a 5.79% p.a. interest rate (5.92% p.a. comparison rate*).

Defence Bank Foundation Credit Card

The Defence Bank Foundation Visa Card pairs value with a great cause. Not only does it come with an introductory purchase rate of 3.99% p.a. (available for 6 months before reverting to 8.99% p.a.), half of the $45 annual fee goes to the Defence Bank Foundation.

This is an independent organisation which provides mental health support to current and former Australian Defence Force members. It does this through the Defence Community Dogs program, which rescues abandoned dogs and trains them to assist Veterans experiencing PTSD, depression and anxiety.

loans.com.au Clean Green Car Loan

If you’re looking to buy a green car, you could be eligible for a car loan at a reduced rate. For example, the Clean Green Car Loan from loans.com.au offers rates of 3.97% p.a. (4.51% p.a. comparison rate*) if your car qualifies as a green vehicle, that is, it emits CO2 at a much lower rate than the average vehicle of its size.

Bendigo Bank Community Saver Account

Bendigo Bank might currently boast 1.9 million customers, but its commitment to the community hasn’t wavered since its early days. Case in point, the Bendigo Bank Community Saver Account lets you support a local initiative while growing your savings at the same time.

The organisations you can choose from include Oxfam Australia, Royal Children's Hospital Foundation Victoria, and St Johns Ambulance South Australia. As your balance earns interest, a percentage will be donated to your nominated organisation.

Community First Credit Union McGrath Pink Visa

The McGrath Pink Visa comes with a low purchase rate of 8.99% and up to 55 interest free days, but that’s not why it’s on this list. Each year that you hold the card, Community First Credit Union will donate half of the $40 annual fee to the McGrath Foundation, which provides breast care nurses to women with breast cancer across Australia.

Powershop

Powershop is the first and only energy company in Australia to be 100% carbon neutral. What’s more, it’s committed to developing new sources of renewable energy, strongly opposed to fossil fuel use, and very solar friendly. Considering its multiple Mozo Experts Choice Award wins, not to mention its stamp of approval from Greenpeace, Powershop is a hard option to go past.

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^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Credit Cards Awards

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