Every year, the fitness magazine Outside compiles a list of the top 100 places to work in the United States. Outside is the mag that brought you stories like Death of an Innocent (the story that became the book and movie Into The Wild) and The Killer In The Pool (inspiration for the documentary Black Fish). The magazine focuses on fitness, exploration, and environmental issues.
Companies on the list have perks like on-site chefs, Nerf gun wars, happy hours, and company-wide health initiatives. Among the advertising agencies, breweries, and outdoor gear manufacturers that dominate the list, there is one financial institution: First Green Bank of Mount Dora, FL.
First Green is a community bank with five branches around central Florida. It opened in 2009 and operates by the motto, “Doing the Right Thing.” The bank focuses on environmentally-friendly banking practices like low auto rates on low emission vehicles, discounted loans for commercial and residential projects that meet U.S. Green Building Council standards, and solar loans for installing solar panel systems. But, First Green didn’t make the list for helping its customers finance a cleaner environment. The list is about employees. The independent research firm, Best Companies Group, that partnered with Outside, was looking for companies that empower employees to live bigger, better lives. Here are some of the nice benefits that made First Green Bank stand out:
Lose weight, each year the employee who loses the most weight receives $250 (the competition focuses on controlled, healthy weight loss, according to Lauren Maxewell, marketing director at First Green Bank)
Work it out with a $500 annual allowance for fitness classes, races, and competitions and zero-percent financing to purchase fitness gear
Track progress with a free Fitbit
Become one with the earth in the bank's LEED Platinum headquarters building surrounded by biking and running trails
Power up at the complementary refreshment bar with local, fair trade, organic products
First Green Bank also made news in September when CEO Kenneth LaRoe announced all employees would be paid at least $30,000 a year or the hourly equivalent under the bank’s living wage program. Base pay at First Green is $14.40 an hour, almost double the $7.93 minimum wage rate in Florida. The program started October 1.
“If you’ve got the best teller in the world, why don’t you want to pay them the best wages?” Laroe said to CNNMoney.
Visit CreditUnions.com the week of December 8 for "best company" practices to implement at your credit union.