Fintech: Southeast News

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



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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