Podcast: Can a Bank be an Agent of Radical Social and Environmental Change?

Next Economy Now highlights the leaders who are taking a regenerative, bio-regional, democratic, transparent, and whole-systems approach to solving social and environmental challenges. The goal of this podcast is to identify the trends, tips, and best practices that will help listeners better harness the power of business as a force for good.

In this episode, Ryan Honeyman, a partner at LIFT Economy, interviews Kat Taylor, co-founder and co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank.

Beneficial State Bank is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) whose mission is to bring beneficial banking to low-income communities in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. The bank's revolutionary ownership mandates that any distributed profit be invested in the low-income communities it serves and environment upon which we all depend.

Taylor is also a founding director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation (TKREF), dedicated to inspiring a sustainable food system through ranching, training, tours, research, and school food and garden programs. TKREF owns the social enterprise LeftCoast GrassFed, humanely raising cattle and other livestock for the benefit of people and the planet.

Taylor serves and has served on many nonprofit boards including the Harvard Board of Overseers, Ecotrust, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, ProPublica, CuriOdyssey, Insight Prison Project, KQED, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She graduated from Harvard College and earned a JD/MBA from Stanford University. Tom Steyer, who is Taylor's climate/energy activist husband, and she have four grown children.

In this interview, Taylor and Honeyman discuss a number of topics, including:

  • How Beneficial State Bank is addressing systemic challenges in our financial system

  • The debate about growing her bank or staying the same size, and why she believes that it is hard to shift economic prosperity without at least some growth

  • Why Taylor and her husband Steyer are focused on banking, climate change, and regenerative agriculture

  • The books, organizations, and thought leaders that have influenced her thinking

  • The one thing that anyone listening can do to make a difference in our financial system

This is the first in a series of Next Economy Now podcasts we'll be publishing on Shareable. You can also listen/subscribe to the podcast on iTunesOvercastStitcher, or your favorite podcasting platform. 

Header image by Vitaly via unsplash. 

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