Starbucks: “Donate Five Bucks to a Bank”

Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz would like you to donate five of your hard-earned bucks to a bank.

Well not a bank, exactly. But to the Opportunity Finance Network, an alliance of what are known as community development financial institutions (CDFIs).

CDFI’s aren’t charities. They make money by loaning your $5 (plus $30 more they leverage) to small businesses, just like a bank.

But there’s a big difference (at least according to the Opportunity Finance website): “CDFIs are profitable but not profit maximizing. They put community first, not the shareholder.”

Perhaps that’s why the Starbucks/Opportunity Finance “Create Jobs for USA” banking initiative is earning praise while traditional banks endure brickbats.

There’s a lesson in that for our nation’s largest financial institutions: If you’re tired of being trashed for being a “big bank,” then just stop acting like one.