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Tampa Bay-Lakeland
Business Observer Thursday, May 27, 2021 3 months ago

Bank on environmental mission names two new senior executives

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Chris Van Buskirk and Marcio deOliveira have gone to work at Climate First Bank ahead of its June 1 opening in downtown St. Petersburg.

ST. PETERSBURG — Just days before opening of its first branch, a local bank on an environmental mission has added two senior executives.

Chris Van Buskirk and Marcio deOliveira have gone to work at Climate First Bank ahead of its June 1 opening in downtown St. Petersburg, according to a statement. Van Buskirk will be the bank’s senior vice president and senior corporate adviser. deOliveira will be its chief technology officer and chief digital banking officer.

Both men are banking veterans and Van Buskirk previously worked at two banks run by Climate First’s founder and CEO Ken LaRoe.

To date, Climate First Bank has raised $37 million in capital. The bank, which says it will be carbon neutral, was founded “with a vision to reimagine the community bank as a force for positive change.”

LaRoe has pledged to operate it following environmental, social and governance principles, meaning it’s socially conscious about how it conducts business. 

It will offer traditional services — loans, savings and checking accounts, mortgages— but executives say they’ll work toward cutting down atmospheric carbon dioxide by offering clients “affordable green loan options.”

These options will include lending individuals and businesses money for solar panels, LEED-certified retrofitting and electric and hybrid vehicles. The bank is also promising to put “special emphasis on non-governmental organizations.”

Bank officials says that the bank won’t lend money to extractive industries which extract raw materials from the earth.

Climate First's branch will be at 5301 Central Avenue.

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