Aspiration Bank: Aspiring to Save Money—and the Planet

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Spotlight on Aspiration Bank

At Aspiration Bank, the  brand promise is to always put customers—and their conscience—first.

“We didn’t set out to build a bank,” says Andrei Cherny, CEO of Aspiration Inc. “We set out to build a better world.” Aspiration is on course to accomplish both.

Founded in 2013 and based in Marina del Rey, CA, Aspiration is an online bank with a varied selection of checking, savings, investment and cash management offerings and rave reviews from customers. But in the crowded and competitive fintech arena, quality products and services are table stakes. What sets Aspiration apart is its policy of allowing customers to decide how much to pay in fees—or, incredibly, to pay nothing at all. That option is central to the company’s brand promise “to always put our customers and their conscience first.” And it is the foundation of a generous and visionary giving program.

It works this way: A customer opens an account and determines unilaterally what constitutes a “fair” fee. Aspiration then contributes 10 percent of the fee to charities and causes across a range of fields, including human rights, health, poverty and education.

Aspiration has funded a number of coronavirus relief efforts, but its primary interest is the climate and the environment. “Like the coronavirus, the climate crisis presents a threat that grows relentlessly with every day of inaction and inadequate action—except the threat it poses is even greater to us all,” says its website. “So when it comes to confronting the climate crisis, we need to move beyond short-term thinking and small tinkers. That means now is not the time to wait, it’s the time to act.”

Customers participating in Aspiration’s Plant Your Change program agree to round up their transactions to the nearest dollar to fund the planting of climate-change-fighting trees.  The Aspiration Redwood Fund, launched in November 2015, invests only in environmentally responsible companies and is completely free of fossil fuel and firearm companies.

Aspiration’s commitment to ethical an sustainable banking infuses its brand, its marketing, and its products and business activities. “We’ve always sought to be the place where you can both save money and save the planet,” says CEO Cherny. The company’s practice of allowing each client an opportunity to “pay it forward” impressed Carpenter Group as the very definition of charitable thinking—a brand demonstrating generosity, engagement with the world and, above all, community.

“We’re in the ‘opportunity’ business,” says Cherny, “striving to help our customers get ahead while also making it possible for other Americans to climb the ladder to a better life.”

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About Brand Acts of Kindness® 

Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.

The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.

About Carpenter Group

Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.

Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.