|Key figures Impact story|
Ekobanken is a transparent bank for those who want to take responsibility for the influence of their money in society; how money is invested; and the origin of money that is lent. The bank provides a place where savers who want their money to be managed in a more transparent and responsible manner can meet those working to provide ecological, social and cultural added value.
Through the operations of Ekobanken we want to promote:
- A free creative cultural and social life that gives meaning and space for living
- The equal value, rights and responsibilities of all people
- Production of goods and services that correspond to the needs of people, and within the planetary boundaries.
Ekobanken makes it possible for depositors to contribute to creating a sustainable society. Members and owners of the bank contribute to lending projects according to the go
an policy of the bank.
Ekobanken was founded in 1996 and began operations in 1998. When the bank started it took over the operations of a savings association, Ekosparkassan, which was the result of a merger of a gift fund and a finance initiative. This merger was rooted in the 1980’s when a group of people were inspired by the early anthroposophical banking initiatives in Europe: still embodied in the activities of fellow GABV members such as GLS Bank and Triodos Bank.
In the early years a lot of work was done to change Swedish law, making it possible for a small bank like Ekobanken to exist and grow with a capital level below the required minimum. After relocating the head office to Skäve Farm outside the village of Järna the bank has, despite limited resources, made itself visible in society. Ekobanken takes part in discussions about local and social economy, renewables, farming, housing and social co-operatives, and adds to the debate about how to create a sustainable society.
In 2005 the first Ekobanken office in the Old Town of Stockholm opened making it possible to meet new groups of clients. The following year Ekobanken launched an internet service together with the big Swedish bank, Nordea, this provided the necessary banking infrastructure for company clients of Ekobanken. Since 2009 Ekobanken has had a permanent representation in Gothenburg and in 2013 a larger office in Stockholm opened, replacing the previous office.
Ekobanken is a co-operative bank with approximately 2000 members (individuals and institutions). Ekobanken is owned by its members. A share in Ekobanken is an investment in a positive future.
Members elect a Board of Representatives and an Election Committee. The Board of Representatives elects the Board of Directors. Each share of value, SEK 1000, gives the right to one vote at the general meeting. Members can own more shares but no member may possess votes corresponding to more than 10% of the shares represented at the meeting.
The bank has a Managing Director, Maria Flock Åhlander, and a Deputy Managing Director, Kristoffer Lüthi, appointed by the Board of Directors. The main operations within the bank are finance, IT, credit, marketing, operations and risk/compliance. The Board has a credit committee deciding on larger credits. In addition, the Board appoints an Audit Committee to work with internal and external auditing.
Market Focus, Products and Services
Ekobanken has a strong focus on financing sustainable development and creating social, cultural and ecological added value. Loans are granted to organic agriculture and food processing, housing, schools and day care centers for people with special needs, independent schools, renewable energy, sustainable housing, social co-operatives, cultural activities and local sustainable development.
Ekobanken offers current accounts, credits and loans for companies and associations. Clients with current accounts do their banking services through a giro account with Nordea Bank, which is linked to their account in Ekobanken. Private individuals and other companies and associations can avail of savings accounts. Housing loans are also available for private individuals.
Depositors are offered accounts with a variety of terms and conditions. Clients can direct their savings towards a particular area of the loan portfolio e.g. organic development or climate protection. Accounts are offered with and without interest returns; clients can opt not to receive interest on their savings and pass this benefit onto loan clients as a reduced interest rate.
Transparency is important. All loans and credit facilities granted to companies are published on the internet and in the customer magazine “Goda Affärer”.
Ekobanken has over the years focused market activities on creating a network within Swedish civil society. The bank now has a network within politics, the transition movement, the local economy movement, curative education- and Waldorf networks, as well as in sustainable housing.