Amidst the news of global market collapse, 11 of the world’s leading ethical banks met for the first time in March to form the Global Alliance for Banking on Values and to develop new strategies for economic cooperation. The alliance of “ethical investment” banks, which has assets of more than $10 billion and serves customers in 20 countries, wants to offer a positive alternative to the current crisis in the global financial system.
“Unlike their enormous mainstream contemporaries,” said alliance cofounder and Triodos Bank CEO Peter Blom at the launch, “these banks are profitable, growing, and crisis resistant. When it was unfashionable to do so, they stuck to simple, core banking services that balance people, planet, and profit.”
Beyond financial security, the alliance is committed to sustainable banking to promote responsible finance that benefits traditionally underserved communities. Mary Houghton, alliance cofounder and president of ShoreBank Corporation, recently brokered a $68 million loan fund that will help Bangladesh’s BRAC Bank—the world’s largest microfinance institution—make thousands of loans to the poor in Tanzania, Uganda, and southern Sudan. “We will lead the debate on the banking models we think could inspire profound changes in the mainstream financial industry,” said Houghton at the alliance launch. “We won’t just talk about change, we will work together to deliver it.”