OneCalifornia Bank and Foundation opened their doors in Oakland two years ago on June 27! On Thursday June 25, 2009, OneCalifornia Foundation joined the Bank in celebrating their second anniversary with a mixer catered by Seison, a local restaurant in Oakland’s Washington Inn Hotel. When OneCalifornia’s founders, Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor, and their team opened the Bank and Foundation two years ago they were hoping to create an effective and sustainable community development organization. In these two years, many residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations in Oakland and the Bay Area have been supported by OneCalifornia Bank’s financial services and OneCalifornia Foundation’s charitable giving.
Most of the Foundation’s activities over the past two years have focused on developing projects that address the financial and money management needs of local individuals and families, and the training, technology, and marketing needs of small businesses. Over 100 people have attended OneCAL SAFE (Checking and Lifetime Savings Accounts with Financial Education) financial literacy courses since the Foundation’s inception. The Foundation also has over 150 local businesses on its Oakland Unwrapped! website and partners with several local nonprofits in various community development missions. Says Erin Kilmer Neel, OneCalifornia Foundation’s Program Officer, “The Foundation is an exciting place to be, and I think a real benefit to my home of Oakland and the Bay Area as a whole. We are helping families save their money, helping businesses start and grow every day. We are always working to improve our existing programs as well as solve new problems in innovative ways. On top of all of this work, it’s amazing and powerful to be able to offer people bank accounts and loans.”
Meanwhile, the Bank has helped the Bay Area community by providing bank accounts to the underbanked, making loans to local medium and small businesses, and promoting the financial development of various nonprofit organizations. According to Russ Haycock, OneCalifornia Bank’s Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer, “The past two years have been exciting and humbling for the banking industry. What a great time to start a community development bank. We can hold our heads high as a management team and founders for the strong and healthy performance of OneCalifornia Bank. This is the beginning of a very meaningful journey, and we are poised to make a significant difference for the future of the industry.” OneCalifornia Bank has not fallen prey to the financial crisis that many other banks have succumbed to and thus has been able to truly help the Bay Area community these past two years.
In the two years OneCalifornia has been open, not only has it gained certification as a Community Development Financial Institution, it has also helped many small businesses survive in this difficult economic climate, furnished SBA loans, provided financial literacy classes, aided various nonprofits, and is even in the process of gaining green certification from the Bay Area Green Business Program. OneCalifornia is growing every day and helping facilitate economic opportunity in Oakland and throughout the Bay Area. The Foundation is also currently in the process of starting a program in the Mission District in San Francisco to assist individuals in managing their money with innovative financial products. Every day, OneCalifornia helps more people by providing them with a place to bank that doesn’t funnel money out of their community and a place where everyone has an opportunity to improve their financial situation.
Thanks to all of you for your continued support!