Beneficial State Bank: Benefit to All, Harm to None
In the fall of 2017, Beneficial State Bank, a triple bottom line community development bank serving areas of California, Oregon, and Washington, had completed its fourth successive year of normalized profitability while continuing to fulfill its mission of promoting social justice and environmental sustainability. Having grown roughly 20 percent organically by loan and deposit growth annually, as well as through three aligned acquisitions, Beneficial State Bank was well on its way to proving its beneficial banking model as well as the impact of its operations on individuals, communities, and the banking system at large.
At the same time, husband and wife creators of the bank, Tom Steyer (MBA ’83) and Kat Taylor (JD/MBA ’86), found themselves at a crossroads. As the sole providers of capital to the bank during the formation and, as a result of the bank’s unique organizational structure, the couple remained the only investors in the bank almost a decade after its founding. With the bank’s assets approaching $1 billion, the team envisioned scaling the business for both economic viability and impact to nearly five times the current size in the coming years. In order to achieve this goal, however, the founders would have to consider the introduction of additional investors.
This case describes the motivating factors for changing the bank’s existing capital structure and includes a discussion of a potential investment option to fulfill these goals. Additional topics include prospective investors, existing capitalization and growth prospects, and the role of mergers and acquisitions.