The First GREEN Bank 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 Mount Dora, Florida, with branches currently also located in Winter Park (Coming Soon), Orlando, Clermont and Ormond Beach, Florida, 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: the environment, its people, its community, and its 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.
First Green Bank has continued to be successful and grow as a bank since it was opened in 2009. Even in the difficult global and national economic climate of the time period during which it opened and has operated, First Green Bank attained profitability in a remarkably short period (a mere 19 months), with current assets over $253 million as of September 2013, and it has lent in excess of $195 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 BauerFinancial rating from the nation’s leading independent financial institution rating service – an exemplary rating which First Green Bank has maintained for ten consecutive quarters 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.
- Current buildings built or converted for energy efficiency
- Commitment to 100% electric charging stations complimentary at all locations with charging stations
- 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 and fair trade
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 CEO Ken LaRoe, along with First Green Bank President Paul Rountree, and other management-level staff are LEED Accredited Professionals; we currently also have six certified LEED Green Associates, and there are also several other employees currently working on their LEED Green Associate certifications). First Green Bank employees are also given many other unique benefits, such as:
- 0% financing on hybrid vehicles
- 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 headquaters, as well as reimbursements for off-site gym memberships)
- 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)
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: “Florida’s Best Companies to Work For” 2010 - 2013, by Florida Trend Magazine; one of the “Top 100 Companies for Working Families" 2011 - 2013, by the Orlando Sentinel; Outside Magazine’s "Top 100 Best Places to Work 2012"; Sustainable Florida Best Practice Awards; etc.
First Green Bank’s new headquarters 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.
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 CEO Ken LaRoe was also personally honored by the Lake County Board of County Commissioners with a certificate of appreciation for the many dedicated hours of service he volunteered to Lake County and its citizens on the Lake County
In the years since it has 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.