Finance Basics/FAQ

Banks store individual’s cash and savings. Most of this money doesn’t just sit in a vault – banks use it for loans and investments that generate returns. At big for-profit banks like Chase and Bank of America, some of this money is used to finance the Fossil Fuel Industry. Over the past 6 years, the world’s 60 largest banks have poured over $4.6 trillion into the fossil fuel industry, driving climate chaos and causing deadly impacts of people and the environment (Source: banking on climate chaos
The fossil fuel industry would not be able to exist without these investments. They require large loans to finance capital-intensive infrastructure, institutions to underwire their corporate bonds, and brokers to trade their shares. Luckily, we collectively have the power to end fossil fuel investments. Big banks and their shareholders care about their public image as trustworthy institutions. In the face of a nationwide grassroots divestment movement, they are already feeling the pressure to divest from fossil fuels and establish sustainable investment guidelines. (Source:
You can help send this message, that investing in fossil fuels is no longer acceptable, by moving your money to a local credit union or sustainably-focused bank that don’t invest in fossil fuels. As members of the University of California, we have the potential to make a very loud statement – half a million people moving their money away from fossil fuels. Join our movement by learning about fossil-free banks (, taking our personalized quiz to find a bank that suits your needs, and signing up for our mailing list.


Does divestment work?

Yes! There have been numerous divestment campaigns targeting various aspects of the fossil fuel money pipeline. One example is the Chase bank protests, which have led Chase to at least begin changing their investment practices :

Are credit unions secure?

Yes! Credit unions are federally ensured for depots up to $250,000 per person through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. (Source:

Will my $100 divestment really make a difference?

Yes! While your account may be small relative to the trillions of dollars floating around the financial system, it still matters who you bank with. Big for-profit banks need individuals to deposit their cash to sustain their business model, and they want your business. Moving your money is about sending a message to these big banks that you’re not ok with your money being used to finance climate chaos. 

You can see how much of a difference in the Explore Your Impact tab.