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Amalgamated Bank Announces First-Ever Progressive Index

A majority of progressives ranked income inequality between the rich and poor as their most pressing concern...

- Amalgamated Bank Progressive Poll

NEW YORK – Amalgamated Bank, the country’s leading progressive bank, today unveiled a first-of-its-kind progressive poll asking 800 self-described progressives throughout the country their views on banking and the economy. The poll found a majority of progressives have a strong distrust of the banking industry, with 87 percent of respondents reporting they believe bankers’ main goal is to make a profit, and not to serve their customers. 83 percent of progressives said they want their banks to be focused on making the world a better place.

“As a whole progressives are an optimistic and hopeful group, but as the poll confirms, the American people have lost trust in the banking industry,” said Keith Mestrich, President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank. “When it comes to the big banks, there is a major trust gap. Trustworthiness, transparency, values, these are things that really matter to customers. As an industry, we need to realize that being a good and trustworthy bank is of the utmost importance to our customers.  As an industry we need to make the necessary changes so we can better help people and organizations reach their goals without having to worry about who is handling their money.”

Overall, progressives are optimistic about the state of the economy and American institutions, the poll found. 61% of those polled, believe that the economy as going in the right direction. While President Obama, the military, labor unions, and the Supreme Court all received more than 70 percent favorability. Meanwhile, Congress had a 15 percent favorability—roughly the same as the big banks and Wall Street.

Highlights from the poll:

A majority of progressives ranked income inequality between the rich and poor as their most pressing concern, beating health care, climate change and more:

  • 58% of respondents believe that income inequality is the most pressing issue facing the country.
  • 37% put minimum wage on top of their list of priorities, to come in second.

Respondents concluded that while trustworthiness and transparency are of the utmost importance, they also want a bank that shares their values:

  • 83% of respondents believe part of their bank’s mission should be dedicated to making the world a better place.
  • 69% said banks should donate portions of their profits to progressive causes.

Progressives’ continue to have a negative view of big banks since the recession of the mid-2000s. Progressives remain distrustful of the motivating factors for big banks:

  • 75% believe banks only act in their own interest.
  • 51% said their opinion of banks has only gotten worse in the past few years.

Instead of doing business with the country’s biggest banks, more than one-third of progressives bank with a local financial institution instead:

  • 34% bank with a local or regional bank.
  • Local banks garnered a 70% favorability rating, versus just 18% favorability for “large banks.”

Progressives use online banking services more often than going to a brick-and-mortar branch:

  • Only 10% of respondents go to a physical bank more than once per week; 33% go less than once per month, and one-fourth “almost never” go to a physical bank.
  • In contrast, 47% of progressive use online banking services once or more per week, and 21% use them every day.

Progressive respondents also weighed in on their late-night television and ice cream eating habits:

  • The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is the most popular late-night show for progressives
  • 32% think Ben and Jerry’s “AmeriCone Dream” best represents the progressive movement—the most of any flavor.
  • If they created a progressive movie character, 32% of respondents said the character would be from San Francisco, CA.

This poll highlights that progressive customers want a bank that is trustworthy, transparent and has shared values. Progressives also recognize the income inequality gap as one of the most important issues facing our country. As a bank committed to progressive values we continue to work and promote causes that matter most to our customers, including both instituting a $15 minimum wage in our own company and helping pass $15 minimum wage laws in both New York City and Washington, D.C. as well as taking the necessary steps to limit our carbon footprint. Helping customers reach their financial goals while working to make the world better is our goal and our mission.

About Amalgamated Bank

For nearly a century, Amalgamated Bank has been the most trusted financial institution for progressive people and organizations. By helping those who do good do better, we work to help make the world more just, compassionate and sustainable. Our extensive experience, financial resources and community of like-minded customers offers labor unions, philanthropies, political campaigns, socially and environmentally responsible corporations, as well as individuals, a unique set of financial services enabling them to lead the charge to improve our communities and our country.