|Key figures Scorecard Impact story|
Alternative Bank Switzerland (ABS) aims to further the common good and to protect people and nature through its business activities. So that the world remains worth living in – both now and in the future. It does not seek to maximise profits, but places the emphasis on its ethical principles. The bank not only makes a positive impact through its business activities, but also in other ways. As a pioneer in social and ecological banking, it sets an encouraging example and represents a model for other banks in Switzerland.
ABS was initiated by environmental, social and development organisations and movements at the end of the 1980s. By 1990 it had obtained the authorisation of the Federal Banking Commission and assembled the required share capital. Its head office was opened in the same year. Amongst other non-conventional products, the Innovation Fund Association was set up by the bank in 1996 to support projects that are unable to obtain finance from traditional banks. In 2002 ABS began distributing sustainable investment funds from a third-party bank, thereby expanding the investment advisory services available to its customers. An analytical tool developed by ABS, the ABS Property Rating, was launched in 2004 to assess the sustainability of buildings. In 2012, ABS also introduced a tool to prevent construction projects which contribute to uncontrolled urban development from gaining access to loans. Two years later, ABS added an managed accounts with a special emphasis on impact to its range of investment advisory services. ABS now operates in four locations. In addition to the head office in Olten, it has branches in Zurich and Lausanne, as well as a contact office in Geneva.
- Martin Rohner (Chief Executive Officer)
- Ursula Baumgartner (Member of the Executive Board, Head Lending)
- Etienne Bonvin (Member of the Executive Board, Head Finance & Administration)
- Michael Diaz (Member of the Executive Board, Head Investing)
Market Focus, Products and Services
ABS´s products and services are aligned with its clients’ requirements concerning savings, investments, financial security, corporate finance, real estate finance and payments. The bank focuses on developing products and services that support sustainable economic activity and enable positive social and environmental change. It also aims to raise its profile in the market and to be a political voice on the role of finance in sustainable development. Loans are issued principally in the area of social or ecological housing (including loans for private individuals), social organizations, organic agriculture and renewable energy, as well as sustainable business. The investment advice provided by the bank is aimed at people who want to invest responsibly and have a positive impact on people and the environment. ABS gears its products and services towards private individuals, non-profit associations and small and medium-sized enterprises that share its aims and values.