First GREEN Bank came to Uproar, the FinTech PR agency, in 2013 to garner awareness for its various community initiatives and new branch opening as it expanded its reach across Florida. Since then, First GREEN Bank has grown to over $650 million in assets with seven locations spanning Florida.
While working with Uproar, First GREEN Bank and its founder, Ken LaRoe, and CEO, Keith Costello, have also captured the attention of leading business outlets, not only as key community partners but as strategic thought-leaders in the finance and sustainability sectors. Uproar has developed and initiated numerous strategic PR plans announcing several of the bank’s new branches including locations in, Altamonte Springs, Winter Park and downtown Orlando.
Through targeted local outreach surrounding each opening and specialized programs, Uproar captured the media’s attention by tying in LaRoe’s passion for environmental responsibility and the importance he puts on running a values-based business. As a result, Uproar secured stories in key local media outlets including Fox 35, CF News 13, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Business Journal, Orlando Weekly, i4 Business Magazine, Daily Commercial, Ormond Beach Observer, Florida Banking Magazine, Lake Sentinel, Winter Park / Maitland Observer, SODO News, The Daytona Beach News-Journal and Tampa Bay Business Journal, among dozens of others.
In addition to Central Florida growth coverage, Uproar worked to garner press surrounding First GREEN Bank’s expansion to the South Florida market. Uproar built a media campaign around First GREEN Bank’s appointment of new CEO, Keith Costello. Leveraging Costello’s South Florida roots, the Uproar team was able to garner coverage for the announcement in local media outlets including the Sun-Sentinel, Florida Banking Magazine, South Florida Business Journal, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Business Journal and South Florida City Biz List.
When LaRoe opened his business, he wanted to make it something more than just a community bank. With a deep passion for the environment, LaRoe established a values-based brand with a main focus on social and environmental responsibility. With this in mind, Uproar positioned LaRoe as a thought leader on the topic of sustainable and solar energy. Uproar created a media story using the bank’s solar energy offerings and LaRoe’s expertise to become local and national experts on renewable energy. This resulted in national stories in Nerdwallet, The Huffington Post, Money Matters, Solar Power World, Orlando Sentinel, Stone Advisory Magazine, Orlando Weekly, Ormond Beach Observer, Clean Technica, Let’s Go Solar and The West Volusia Beacon, as well as interviews on NPR and 90.7 WMFE.
In addition to placing an importance on LaRoe’s passion for sustainable and solar energy, Uproar also pitched national media on LaRoe’s values-based mission – to lead an impactful and successful charge to prove that there is a better way to do business—one that is financially, environmentally and socially responsible. A few examples include, the Wells Fargo scandal where Ken commented on the issue and coverage was secured in American Banker, Bank News, Newsday and The Record. Another example includes the bank’s living wage policies and personal financial health efforts, which was pitched and featured in Recruiter.com, CNBC, CNN Money, Fox Business, The Washington Post, Yahoo!, Staples, Bank News, American Banker, Digi Day, Main Street, Forbes, Inc., Bloomberg and SUCCESS magazine. Then during the 2016 election, Uproar tied First GREEN Bank to proposed Amendment 1, an anti-solar initiative that would place all solar energy generation under the state’s big utility monopolies. An article ran in the Sun-Sentinel, Southeast Green and FL Solar Choice. In addition, Uproar secured two speaking opportunities where First GREEN Bank encouraged voters to “vote no” on the amendment.
Uproar, the FinTech PR agency, continues to work hand-in-hand with First Green Bank to communicate and share impactful stories that help benefit the community. This includes their deep and personal connection with the Brain Injury Association of Florida. From this, Uproar developed and pitched a human interest story which resulted in a front-page feature in the Orlando Sentinel, Orange Observer, a piece in Orlando City Arts Magazine and TV News segments on News 13, Wesh 2, and Local 6 Making A Difference. The association received both monetary and volunteer donations, helping the organization meet its fundraising goal of $100,000.
To continue building the bank’s brand, Uproar focuses on both award opportunities for both First GREEN Bank and the bank’s founder, Ken LaRoe. Uproar’s awards program has landed LaRoe top business recognitions such as Orlando Sentinel’s Top 100 Companies, American Banker’s Best Banks to Work For, Orlando Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, Orlando Business Journal Fast 50, Orlando Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful People, the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2015, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Magazine, UF Law, and the Orlando Business Journal’s Entrepreneur of the Year and CEO of the Year.
Additionally, through the work Uproar has done on the Thought Leadership program, the bank and its founder have been honored with recognition form the ACG Orlando SMART Awards, Extraordinary Bank of the Year Award, Stevies Company of the Year, American Business Awards, Gator 100, American Heart Association, Inc. 5000, i4 Business Magazine’s 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Sustainable Florida Best Practices Awards, Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work for 2015, Orlando Business Journal’s Best Places to Work, Orlando Business Journal’s Top Community Banks, Orlando Business Journal’s Fast 50, Orlando Business Journal’s Golden 100 Companies, Orlando Sentinel Top 100 Companies, and the Bank News Green Leaf Award.
Through Uproar’s research and coordination, several organizations and events have requested that LaRoe share his expertise as a speaker, including the 2014 SXSW Eco event, Gator100, TEDx Eustis, PechaKucha, Orlando Business Journal banking roundtable, and Central Florida energy efficiency alliance.