Financial History 144 Winter 2023 | Page 34

B Corp Banks Prosper

Doing Well by Doing Good

Courtesy of Androscoggin Bank
By Gregory DL Morris
In 2022 , traditional commercial banks were fined more than $ 5 billion by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ( CFPB ) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for a wide range of legal
Androscoggin Bank employees participate in a River Clean Up event . All employees receive 24 hours of paid volunteer time that they may use as they see fit to support organizations and causes that matter to them . violations — from the incorrect disbursement of state unemployment benefits to unlawful trading .
A very different narrative is being written by banks structured as B corporations . Their story gets less attention because it is not lurid , but in some ways their story is more important . They are front and center as the entire financial and commercial sector reconsiders the decades-old concept of shareholder primacy as a universal mandate , rather than as merely one of several models . While directors and officers of C corps may consider the interests of other stakeholders beyond owners , directors and officers of B corps are required to do so .
B corps are a form of public-benefit corporation ( PBC ) authorized in 35 states and the District of Columbia . Those include states that are major financial hubs , such as New York , California , Illinois and Texas , but notably not North Carolina . While the structure and regulation of a B corp is under state law , B corp status is certified by third parties .
Among the B corp banks , one of the newest is a bank in Maine that was founded as a mutual shortly after the Civil
32 FINANCIAL HISTORY | Winter 2023 | www . MoAF . org