First GREEN Bank Our Story

Our Story

As one of the first banks in the United States which has an environmental and social mission, First GREEN Bank was founded in 2009 by a team of experienced and successful local bankers after being given the last bank charter in the state of Florida.

Headquartered in Orlando, Florida,

with branches currently also located in Winter Park, Mount Dora, Clermont, Ormond Beach, Altamonte Springs, and Fort Lauderdale. First Green Bank is a customer-driven community bank providing personalized service, localized decision-making and proven technology while promoting a positive environmental and social example to its community.

As a local bank with a global mission, First GREEN Bank adheres to a values-based business model which endeavors.

To Do The Right Thing For”:

  • Our Planet
  • Our People
  • Our Community
  • Our Shareholders

In recognition of these continued efforts, First GREEN Bank was granted membership to the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) in May of 2012, and it is a founding member of the North American Chapter of the GABV. In 2017 First GREEN Bank officially became a Certified B Corp. Although there are currently only fifteen other Certified B Corp businesses in Florida, we join a growing list of businesses throughout the country (currently over 1,050) and the world using business as a force for good: to help solve social and environmental problems.  B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

First GREEN Bank has continued to be successful and grow as a bank since it was opened in 2009. Even in the difficult economic climate during which First GREEN Bank opened and has operated, it has attained profitability in a remarkably short period (a mere 19 months), with current assets over $764 million as of April 2018, and it has lent in excess of $500 million to local businesses and people in our communities.

First GREEN Bank is also the only bank in Lake County, and one of a select few banks in all of Florida, to receive the coveted 5-star Bauer Financial rating from the nation’s leading independent financial institution rating service – an exemplary rating which First Green Bank has maintained to date.

Some of the unique aspects of First GREEN Bank which contribute greatly to its continued success and positive impact on the community include:

  • Discounted interest rates for commercial and residential projects that meet green building criteria of LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council
  • Solar Loan program which offers a great, long-term fixed rate to encourage customers and employees to install solar panel systems for energy use
  • Non-profit “First Green Foundation” provides assistance to community members for installation of solar panel systems in addition to providing assistance to community supported agriculture, which supports local start-up farming projects as well as projects that better manage our water resources, in turn helping to support many initiatives like the Slow Foods movement, Hunger Free Florida, and Farm to School programs. Through the foundation’s Renewable Energy Program, thousands of dollars in grants have been given to area residents and businesses currently completing solar panel or solar water heater installations to date. Learn more at
  • Current buildings built or converted for energy efficiency
  • Commitment to alternative transportation by offering charging stations at most branches and one of the first Nissan Fast Chargers in the State of Florida at the Winter Park branch
  • Approximately 90% of all customers are on paperless statements
  • Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) services offered as well as paperless statements; Bill Pay which reduces the number of physical checks being written; and Mobile banking
  • Thousands of hours of community service and involvement by staff
  • All complimentary refreshment bar products are organic, fair trade, and local

First GREEN Bank’s Mount Dora location is built and registered to exceed the LEED Platinum standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council for energy efficiency, environmental sensitivity and the safety, security and comfort of its customers, workers and the community. In fact, it is one of the most environmentally-sustainable and energy-efficient bank buildings in the southeastern United States, and it was only the seventh privately-owned commercial building in the state of Florida to achieve LEED Platinum certification. First GREEN Bank’s Headquarters in Orlando is pending LEED Platinum, the Winter Park branch is LEED Gold EB; Net Zero, and our Ormond Beach branch is Green Globes Certified.

  • Employees of First GREEN Bank are also encouraged and given scholarships to attain LEED Green Associate and Accredited Professional certification through the U.S. Green Building Council, and they are awarded $1,000 annual raises for successfully attaining such certification
  • First GREEN Bank Chairman and Founder Ken LaRoe, along with other management-level staff are LEED Accredited Professionals; six (and counting) employees are also certified LEED Green Associates.
First GREEN Bank employees are also given many other unique benefits, such as:

  • 0% interest rate on 40 mpg vehicles and above. Other discount interest rates are available for vehicles that do not meet this qualification
  • Complimentary use of hybrid employee loaner vehicles for any purpose, personal or business
  • Employer sponsored wellness benefits (such as an on-site personal trainer in our on-site gym at the Mount Dora location, as well as reimbursements for off-site gym memberships).
  • 0% interest rate on specialized sporting goods
  • Mission Specialist program to encourage co-workers to personally commit to the values proposition: provides 50bp increase on annual reviews and other benefits
  • 100% medical, dental & vision premiums paid by employer
  • 100% life insurance, AD&D, Short-term and Long-term disability premiums paid by employer
  • 401k with 100% employer matching up to 6% (and “the business” doesn’t require a vesting period)
  • Generous paid vacation and sick leave
  • Paid sabbatical for any social mission
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Highest Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
  • Reimbursement of athletic competition entry fees for co-workers

Such employee benefits, and more, have contributed to a happier, healthier, more aware and engaged workforce, and they have also helped First GREEN Bank earn numerous recognitions and awards such as:

  • Best Banks to Work for | American Banker | 2013-2015, 2017
  • 5 Star Bauer Financials Rating | Bauer Financial | Every Quarter Since 2009
  • Sustainable Florida’s Best Practice Awards | 2012, 2014, 2015
  • Fast 50: Central Florida’s Fastest Growing Companies | Orlando Business Journal | 2013-2018
  • Gold Stevie Award Winner – Banking & Financial Services | American Business | 2015-2016
  • Silver Stevie Award Winner – Banking & Financial Services | American Business | 2014
  • Philanthropic Companies Charitable Contributions Award | Orlando Business Journal | 2016-2017
  • Philanthropic Companies Volunteer Hours Award | Orlando Business Journal | 2017
  • Top 100 Companies in Orlando | Orlando Sentinel | 2016, 2017
  • Structure Award Honoree: Top Green Project | Orlando Business Journal | 2016
  • Coolest Office Spaces Honoree | Orlando Business Journal | 2016
  • LEEDership Award for Outstanding Green Business | USGBC Florida Gulf Coast Chapter | 2016
  • 100 Best Places to Work | Outside Magazine | 2013, 2015
  • CEO of the Year Award | Orlando Business Journal | 2015
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year | Ernst & Young | 2015
  • SMART Award | ACG Orlando | 2015
  • Gator 100 | UF | 2015
  • Green Leaf Award | BankNews | 2014
  • 5000 Award | Inc. Magazine | 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Company With the Best Green Practices | Orlando Business Journal | 2013
  • Florida Companies to Watch Award – Top 50 Winner | Orlando Business Journal | 2013
  • Best Community Banks Award | Orlando Business Journal | 2017
  • Top Banks Award | Orlando Business Journal | 2017
  • Golden 100 Award | Orlando Business Journal | 2017 – 2018
  • Seminole 100 Award | Florida State University | 2017
  • Business and Environment Award | Mt Dora Friends of the Environment | 2017
  • Top 25 Largest Central Florida SBA Lenders List | Orlando Business Journal | 2017
  • 40 Under 40 Award – Lex Ford | Orlando Business Journal | 2017
  • Top Lender | SBDC Annual Small Business Week | 2018
  • Golden Bricks – Orlando | Downtown Orlando Partnership | 2018
  • Florida Fast 100 | Orlando Business Journal | 2018
  • Best For the World – Overall and Community | B Corp | 2018

For all of its important efforts, First GREEN Bank was named the “2011 Business of the Year” by the United States Green Building Council’s Central Florida Chapter. Earlier in 2011, First GREEN Bank Chairman and Founder, Ken LaRoe, was personally honored by the Lake County board of County Commissioners with a certificate of appreciation for the many dedicated hours of service to Lake County. In 2013, Ken LaRoe received recognition from Ernst and Young as a nominee for “Entrepreneur of the Year” and in 2013-2015 he was a finalist for the award.

In the years since it opened, First GREEN Bank has led an impactful and successful charge to show people there is a better way to do business which is financially, environmentally, and socially responsible.

Ready to Make the Switch to First Green Bank?

Come visit us at any of our locations or talk to us on the phone.

The First GREEN Foundation is a 501c-3 non-profit dedicated to promoting renewable energy, water conservation, and community supported agriculture for Central Floridians

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