January 12, 2021
A new digital banking service called Ando launched on Monday promising customers that 100 percent of the bank's investments will support the environment.
"When you deposit your paycheck into your Ando account, we guarantee that the money will only be invested in green initiatives that reduce emissions and improve the environment," JP McNeill, CEO of Ando, told Cheddar.
McNeill said he came up with the idea in the process of trying to reduce his own carbon footprint and realizing that his bank deposits were working against his goals, given that most banks are invested in the fossil fuel industry.
"There are millions of people today, including myself, who are looking at ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint as well as help the environment," he said. "Unfortunately, many options are out of reach for the average person, or they're very difficult to implement, but banking is within reach for most Americans."
This isn't the first time McNeill has attempted to bring environmental principles into the banking and investment space. He was formerly the chief executive of Renovate America, which provided financing for solar and other home energy-saving improvements.
McNeill, however, left the company in 2017, because he saw no clear regulation on the federal level. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020 after facing multiple lawsuits from customers and tightened credit requirements that made its business model difficult.
McNeill said Ando will offer a test case in how banks can help divert customers' money away from fossil fuels.
"The way the banking sector works is that for every dollar that we deposit in our account, the bank can originate one dollar worth of loans," McNeill said. "So the idea is that by better design we can direct and reorient our money to fund green initiatives that reduce emissions and improve the environment."