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BankNews Announces 2012 Green Leaf Award Winners


The Green Leaf Award recognizes financial institutions nationwide that are helping to improve their communities through cooperation and participation in environmental programs and projects through policies, programs and technology. The award covers three primary areas: staff involvement, bank services and technology, and environmental participation. Congratulations to this year’s winners!


Winner in the >$500 million in assets category: Eastern Bank

Boston-based Eastern Bank has four U.S. Green Building Council LEED-registered branches — more than any other bank in Massachusetts. The bank uses 100 percent green electrical power at more than 90 branches and five corporate centers through the purchase of renewable energy certificates from Constellation Energy. The bank has also provided millions in financing to nonprofits such as Union of Concerned Scientists, GreenBridge Energy Consortium and Ecological Development Fund.

For its customers, the $8 billion asset bank offers green products such as the Equal Exchange CD, which helps promote sustainable farming methods in emerging countries, and in partnership with MassSave, the bank provides discounted HEAT loans to consumers for energy-efficient home improvements. The bank also offers eco-friendly services such as e-statements, mobile banking, remote deposit capture, online banking and bill pay. Eco-friendly promotional items include seed cards, reusable shopping bags and tote bags made of oxo-biodegradable plastic.

For all customer sales collateral, the bank uses Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper. Similarly, office paper, cardboard, bottles, cans and toner cartridges are all recycled. At the 500-employee operations center and cafeteria, general trash is removed nightly and delivered to Resco Trash energy plant to produce electricity.

In addition, Eastern Bank provides employees with a $40 monthly subsidy to encourage the use of public transportation to help reduce gas consumption, pollution and traffic congestion.

The bank has created a Green Team, consisting of representatives from every functional area of the bank, which meets regularly to research and propose sustainability initiatives and has created a “green page” on the intranet for employee suggestions and feedback.

The green team has organized employee events, such as Green Ride, which showcased environmentally friendly transportation; energy efficient lighting fairs, recycled clothing and book drives; and in partnership with Northeast Material Handling, it held an employee e-cycling day that recycled 5.5 tons of consumer electronics in 2012.

Honorable Mentions
Busey Bank, Champaign, Ill.
Malvern Federal Savings Bank, Paoli, Pa.


Winner in the <$500 million in assets category: Premier Bank

Premier Bank, Dubuque, Iowa, has spent hundreds of hours re-engineering its policies, procedures, workflow and choice of suppliers to minimize its environmental impact by maximizing its reduction in use of natural resources. The $253 million asset bank received Petal Project certification in 2012 — an honor bestowed on only four local businesses in the bank’s community.

The Petal Project is a green business certification program that encompasses five key areas: water conservation, waste reduction, staff education, energy conservation and pollution prevention. Through the Petal Project, Premier Bank increased employee education on waste reduction and energy conservation; increased the deployment of energy-efficient lighting; increased its use of low-flow faucets; expanded materials that are recycled; installed motion-activated lighting in a variety of lower-use areas; and decreased paper consumption through copier duplexing and the use of email and electronic documentation in lieu of paper documentation.

Premier also created and launched a bank intranet to reduce paper use and paper flow. It also has an ongoing e-statement program, which has more than 76 percent of its online banking clients accepting e-statements.

“To become certified we reviewed processes, and products and looked for increased educational opportunities for our employees,” said Todd Link, senior vice president and chief risk officer. “I can proudly proclaim that being a sustainable business is not only a good environmental position, but we have been able to save money as a result of our efforts to reduce consumption of our natural resources. I would encourage all businesses contemplating the process to give it a sincere effort. The cost savings alone can often be significant.”

Premier even hosted a green ribbon cutting in honor of its dedication to environmental sustainability through the Petal Project. Instead of the traditional ribbon cutting and asking for people to drive across town to the ceremony, the bank hosted a ribbon cutting internally and recorded it for broadcast externally. The rest of the ribbon cutting was virtual in nature.

Premier Bank’s future plans include introducing personal check capture via smartphone to reduce customer trips to the bank to deposit checks.

Honorable Mentions
Capital Pacific Bank, Portland, Ore.
New Resource Bank, San Francisco