Fintech: Southeast News

Fintech Southeast News curated each weekday for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee

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Posted May 18, 2021

Florida de novo Climate First Bank is on track to open next month with more than $30 million in investor funding, almost doubling the $17 million capital goal CEO Ken LaRoe set out to achieve last fall.

The St. Petersburg, Florida-based community bank, which is focused on promoting sustainable business practices, also has a banking-as-a-service (BaaS) partnership with neobank Atmos Financial in the works.

While at opposite ends of the financial services spectrum, the two entities share the same goal: using banking to promote sustainable business practices and climate-positive lending.

"Our focus is on shifting capital away from funding of fossil fuels and toward an equitable clean energy transition," said Ravi Mikkelsen, a co-founder at Atmos, which launched in January with a savings product. "Primarily, we want to fund climate-positive infrastructure like renewable energy, electrification of our homes and our vehicles and regenerative agriculture."

{mprestriction ids="1,4,9"}The neobank also allows customers to donate to 41 climate, clean energy and sustainability nonprofits directly from their accounts. Users can give a monthly recurring donation as part of their savings rate, or they can donate a fixed amount, Mikkelsen said.

Atmos, which doesn’t have a bank charter, is partnering with Evolve Bank & Trust to offer its customers Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)-insured accounts, but Mikkelsen said Evolve isn’t a 100% perfect fit for Atmos.

"They're a really good partner, but they don't have the mission alignment of what the capital does once it goes into either their balance sheet or into their sweep network," Mikkelsen said.

 

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