14 Banks and Credit Unions That Give Back to Their Communities

Read about these financial institutions' charitable initiatives.

You might think that banks and credit unions care only about the bottom line. That’s not always true.

Although it might not get much press, many banks and credit unions make giving back to their communities a priority. Learn about banks and credit unions that do more than offer a great interest rate on a loan or the best savings account.

1. TD Bank: Promoting Financial Literacy With WOW!Zone

TD Bank helps students in grade school and high school become financially literate through its WOW!Zone program. Bank employees teach classes in schools, and TD Bank’s website features resources dedicated to helping young adults become savvy about money, credit, investing and banking.

TD Bank offers special branch tours for first through fifth-grade students. TD Bank employees also work with First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books — often with finance-related themes — for children in need throughout the U.S. and Canada. TD’s community spirit isn’t limited to kids: Seminars for adults are available, ranging from general financial literacy topics to mortgage information to small business workshops.

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And The Winner Is: Best National Bank of 2017 — TD Bank

2. Fifth Third Bank: Partnering With EverFi Inc.

Fifth Third Bank has partnered with EverFi Inc. to teach money skills and entrepreneurship to high school students. EverFi has developed mobile apps and uses gamification, which makes learning more like a game, to engage students.

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau recommends Firth Third Bank as a resource for learning financial skills. By the end of the classes, students complete Fifth Third’s Post High School Financial Road Map, which helps them prepare for their own financial futures.

3. Capital One: Students Run a Bank Branch

Capital One gives students real-life experience in managing money — it lets them actually run bank branches to get hands-on experience. Capital One opened its first student-run branch in New York in 2007 and expanded the program to include branches in New Jersey and Maryland. Students gain banking experience by offering savings products to fellow students, administrators and teachers.

4. Northwest Credit Union Association: Supporting Credit Unions for Kids

In 1986 Northwest Credit Union Association began raising money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. A decade later, the credit union adopted the idea nationally, and the program — Credit Unions for Kids — has grown into the third-largest fundraiser for the charity. As of 2017, Northwest Credit Union raised more than $150 million dollars.

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Find Out: NCUA vs. FDIC — Who Insures Credit Unions and Banks?

5. Ally Bank: Funding Grants to Improve Communities

Ally Bank’s Ally Grants program helps support low- and middle-income people with financial education, community service and economic development opportunities. Ally Grants focuses its efforts on Michigan, North Carolina and Utah, and all recipients must be 501(c)(3) charities that comply with the bank’s nondiscrimination policy.

6. US Bank: Matching Contributions for Employee Community Service

US Bank encourages employees to spend time doing community service by contributing $5 to charity for every hour each employee serves — for up to 40 hours per year. In addition, it matches employee contributions of up to $1,000 — and up to $3,000 for employees who serve on nonprofit boards. In 2016, U.S. Bank donated more than $54 million to charity.

7. Umpqua Bank: Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation

Umpqua Bank is one of many local banks making a difference in the community. In 2014, the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation made its first round of charitable contributions to Second Harvest at Spokane Schools, Excelerate Success, SMART and the Family Development Center.

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In 2016, the foundation made its second round of contributions to the Baker School District, Latino Network, Salem-Keizer Education Foundation and United Way of the Wine Country.

See: Best Banks of 2017

8. Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo Housing Foundation

In 1993, Wells Fargo created the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation to provide affordable housing and build strong communities — and it has invested more than $190 million since then. Wells Fargo has contributed more than money: Employees have volunteered more than 4.7 million hours. Wells Fargo partners with local and national organizations to coordinate its efforts and volunteer time.

9. Lake Michigan Credit Union: Lloyd F. Hutt Scholarship

To honor the legacy of its founder, the Lake Michigan Credit Union created the Lloyd F. Hutt Scholarship for high school students in 1990. Lake Michigan Credit Union awards 10 scholarships of $2,000 each year.

To qualify, students must live in Michigan or Florida or be a member or the child of one. This year’s contest will open on Nov. 1 and run to Jan. 31, 2018. LMCU will feature the question: “Imagine nearing the end of your life — describe what will have brought you the greatest happiness or success.”

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Related: 7 Best Banks and Credit Unions to Follow on Social Media

10. Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Military Heroes Fund

PenFed Credit Union has a passion for giving back to veterans. Its Military Heroes Fund provides emergency financial assistance to help veterans and families make ends meet.

The Heroes Fund also provides money for families of injured service members to cover healthcare costs. PenFed’s Dream Makers program helps low-income service members with closing costs and necessary home repairs and its Asset Recovery Kits provide no-interest loans for those in the military.

Related: 10 Best Military Banks and Credit Unions of 2017

11. SunTrust Bank: Off to College Scholarship Sweepstakes

SunTrust helps make college a little less expensive for students with the SunTrust Off to College Scholarship Sweepstakes. Since 2005, SunTrust has sponsored the sweepstakes to give away $500 to 30 different winners each year.

Every two weeks, the bank selects two students at random to receive the award — and no GPA or demonstration of financial need is required. To be eligible, you must be a resident of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia or Washington, D.C.

12. American Heritage Credit Union: Donating Through the CUNA Foundation

The American Heritage Credit Union contributes to the Credit Union National Association Foundation throughout the year to assist with local, national and international needs. Founded in 1980, it serves as the charitable arm for the nation’s credit unions. American Heritage Credit Union also creates a calendar of events to celebrate and thank the communities it serves.

13. USAA Federal Savings Bank: Focused Local Support

USAA Federal Savings Bank focuses its efforts in the communities where it has a significant presence, including San Antonio; Dallas; Phoenix; Chesapeake, Va.; Colorado Springs, Colo; and Tampa, Fla. Organizations in need can apply for a grant through USAA or request volunteers. USAA’s priorities in funding requests include support for veterans and their families, financial readiness for service members, career training and transition assistance for veterans and community affairs.

Read This: Best Credit Unions Anyone Can Join

14. Woodforest National Bank: Woodforest Charitable Foundation

The Woodforest Charitable Foundation’s primary focus is ending hunger throughout the country, especially for children. As a result, it has contributed to food banks and food pantries to directly impact hunger. The Woodforest Foundation also partners with Habitat for Humanity and Helping a Hero — as well as other health and family support groups — to provide stable environments and other benefits for veterans and their families.

About the Author

Michael Keenan

Michael Keenan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance, taxation, and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by Quicken, TurboTax and The Motley Fool.

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