Florida bank to pay all employees “living wage”

First Green Bank ups wages and eliminates salary caps

The website for Florida’s First Green Bank says that the bank’s mission is to do the right thing for the environment, its people, its community and its shareholders.

The bank bills itself as “the first bank of its kind to promote positive environmental and social responsibility while operating as a traditional community bank.”

Now the bank is set to take that message a step further by paying all of its employees a “living wage.”

According to a report from CNN Money, the bank will be giving a raise to 17% of its 66 employees this week to raise their salaries to a level that’s at least double the minimum wage for the state of Florida.

Under that policy, no one will be paid less than $30,000 a year, or the hourly equivalent for part-time workers. That means the base pay at the bank will be roughly $14.40 an hour, or nearly double the Florida state minimum wage of $7.93.

"We don't believe in low wages. We don't need them to make money," Kenneth LaRoe, the bank's founder and CEO, told CNNMoney.

LaRoe said that he believes the new policy will help to attract and retain the best workers.

By next year, LaRoe's goal is for 75% of his employees to earn an income that falls in at least the 90th percentile of pay for their positions and geographic location. In 2016, he wants that to be the case for 85% of his staff.

LaRoe expects to hit those goals in part by eliminating salary caps at the bank.

Until now, he said, if somebody hit the pay ceiling for their position, she couldn't get a raise without a promotion.

"That's just dumb," LaRoe said. "If you've got the best teller in the world, why don't you want to pay them the best wages?"

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