Have you seen the spots for Regions Bank’s new LifeGreen Checking & Savings program? What’s green about their new account? Nothing different than any other bank. They’ve just slapped some green marketing onto what has become standard operating procedures for most banks: Electronic checking (saves paper), and if you have to have printed checks, they’ll print them on recycled paper.
National Bank of Arizona (NBA), on the other hand, is putting their money where their green mouth is. NBA recently announced a joint venture with SolarCity and First Solar to build a 222 kilowatt (DC) solar installation in Phoenix; the city’s second largest commercial solar installation to date. The project is one of the first to use Tempe-based First Solar’s advanced thin film modules. The solar systems will consist of 2,960 First Solar modules installed atop NBA’s carports. It is expected to produce more than 350,000 kilowatt-hours of solar electricity annually, enough to power approximately 20-30 Phoenix-area homes.
The project was made possible, in part, thanks to an incentive from the Salt River Project (SRP) EarthWise Solar Energy program.
NBA’s new First Solar system should allow the bank to offset the emission of more than 11 million pounds of greenhouse gases over its lifetime, the equivalent of planting more than 6,400 trees, or taking more than 1,400 cars off the road for a year. Bank employees and customers will be able to view on a lobby internet kiosk live data showing how much electricity the system generates, how much pollution it prevents and how much money it saves.
All this in addition to eBanking and check printed on recycled paper.
Where Regions Bank is boardering on greenwashing, NBA is becoming a financial industry leader in sustainability. Not just by offering some flimsy green services, but by doing. This subsidiary of Zions Bancorporation in the sunny Southwest is leveraging the environment for green growth, versus attempting to capitalize on a growing trend of greener consumers.