Jaclyn Foroughi, CFA, and Professor Maureen McNichols prepared this case as the basis for class discussion rather
then to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation.
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BENEFICIAL STATE BANK (A):
ORGANIZATION AND MEASUREMENT OF SOCIAL IMPACT
We’re not just trying to develop a new bank model at the firm level and hope that has better and
salutatory effects. We’re really trying to change the banking system for good. 1
—Kat Taylor (JD/MBA ’86), co-founder and co-CEO, Beneficial State Bank
In November 2004, as presidential hopeful John Kerry conceded the presidential race to George
W. Bush, husband and wife team and Democratic supporters Tom Steyer (MBA ’83) and Kat
Taylor found themselves at an impasse in their political endeavors. Having served as a delegate
to the Democratic National Convention and as a significant backer of Kerry, Steyer was
considered a certainty for a position in Kerry’s administration. Taylor, meanwhile, had recently
emerged from a 20-year career hiatus, during which she raised four children and supported her
husband’s esteemed career as founder and senior managing member of Farallon Capital
Management. The lost presidential bid was not only disappointing but left the couple seeking
out new avenues to benefit from their time, passion, and energy.
For Taylor, the idea of a beneficial bank was not new; in fact, the notion of starting a bank to
help underserved communities had been suggested to her almost 20 years earlier when Taylor
sought career advice from then-economic advisor to Governor Jerry Brown of California,
Michael Kieschnick. At the time, the idea seemed implausible but now, with their newly
unleashed resources, the idea of community banking as a leverage point in both communities and
the overall financial system seemed almost compulsory.