Published, Fall 2005
Dairy owners Wally and Mary Holmgren had a vision to turn their farm in Oregon’s Coquille Valley into an organic operation. They needed capital, however, to grow their herd, build a new barn, and renovate the milking parlor. Traditional banks turned them down, even laughing at their audacity. Wally was turned away by several banks before approaching ShoreBank with his dream.
“You can’t imagine my surprise when, in my first phone call to them, they said yes,” said Holmgren. “Simply put, they were just there to help us.”
While other banks overlook the potential of businesses whose goal is to implement sustainable practices, ShoreBank Pacific seeks out such operations, as well as more traditional businesses that are open to science-based sustainability recommendations. These businesses recognize the potential for positive impacts to their bottom line that come from increasing energy efficiencies, reducing reliance on natural resources, and reducing waste.
For Holmgren Dairy, ShoreBank Pacific partnered with ShoreBank Enterprise, its nonprofit community loan fund affiliate, to provide financing for the purchase of 240 acres of land and the construction of the new milking parlor. At the time, Holmgren Dairy was a regional pioneer in the move to organic production. Now this farm is one of seven organic dairies in the Valley. The pasture- based operation supports 700 head of Jersey cows, 350 of which are in active production at any given time.
Just as ShoreBank Pacific works to promote economic sustainability through its relationships with loan customers, it also allows consumers to invest in a way that supports their values. Many know the bank through its EcoDeposits® program, which allows people to support sustainable business endeavors with their investment dollars. Now the bank is expanding its customer services, enabling people to establish ShoreBank Pacific as their primary bank.
The new product, called EcoCash, is a consumer checking account with a sustainable twist— customers are encouraged to go check-free. The bank encourages paperless transactions, allowing five free paper checks per month then charging $3 per additional check. A portion of this fee will be used to offset carbon emissions created by the transport and processing of the paper items. The interest-bearing account includes a Visa debit card, unlimited electronic transactions, and online banking with bill pay.
“EcoCash is in direct response to the requests of our customers, who have been pushing to expand their relationship with ShoreBank Pacific,” said David Williams, President and CEO of ShoreBank Pacific. “After building our sustainable business banking programs, it’s great to turn our attention to the needs of the individuals who have so loyally supported the bank and its mission.”
ShoreBank Pacific leads the financial industry in promoting a sustainable economy through banking, inspiring global financial institutions to adopt green lending practices in its wake. Serving the Pacific Northwest since 1997, it was the first FDIC-insured bank to encourage social and economic development in an environmentally responsible manner. ShoreBank Pacific is the only financial institution that has an on-staff scientist helping clients adopt sustainable business practices. Over the years, the bank has helped hundreds of companies save money and resources in ways that minimize environmental impact. As a result, funds get redirected toward business growth, contributing jobs and economic opportunity to the communities they serve.
Laurie Landeros is the EcoDeposits Manager at ShoreBank. ShoreBank Pacific is headquartered in Ilwaco, WA, with additional lending offices in Portland, OR, and Federal Way, WA. Visit www.eco-bank.com for more information.