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FGB Case study

Freie Gemeinschaftsbank Genossenschaft

Website www.gemeinschaftsbank.ch FGB
Location Switzerland
Key figures Impact story

Mission

The Freie Gemeinschaftsbank Genossenschaft is founded on the mutual trust of all stakeholders, beneficiaries and employees.

The bank sets itself two essential tasks:

  • To promote people, initiatives and companies that serve people and the environment;
  • To support people in their efforts to handle money sensibly and responsibly and to understand money processes. For collaborative partners at the bank, these tasks can both be a field of work and a practical path as well as a research objective.

Individuality bears a high degree of importance for Freie Gemeinschaftsbank. The bank focuses on the promotion of the individual: among stakeholders, beneficiaries and interested parties, as well as among the members of the cooperative, the employees and members of the executive body. The individual gains the possibility of seeing their own needs in the light of the needs of others.

History

Freie Gemeinschaftsbank was founded in 1984 as the first Swiss bank with an ethical focus and mission to launch a bank that develops its activities on the basis of anthroposophy. It passes on the funds entrusted to it to interesting and sustainable projects and enterprises, whose work benefits people and the environment as much as possible. This includes loan projects in the areas of biological and biodynamic agriculture, Rudolf Steiner schools and kindergartens, social therapeutic projects, medical and therapeutic facilities, residential projects, small innovative companies and individual loans.

Freie Gemeinschaftsbank is deliberately not involved with money trading, speculation and stock market trading. The business model of the bank is based on the interest rate differential, i.e. it accepts customer funds as deposits and provides loans.

The bank does not work to maximise profit and does not pursue any explicit growth objective. It is statutorily set that the bank should have a balanced income statement. The interest rates for the loans it grants should therefore be set so that they cover the interest for the accepted funds and operating costs. In addition, Freie Gemeinschaftsbank strives for profits which allow it to maintain and create a necessary equity base.

Structure

Freie Gemeinschaftsbank is currently supported by 2,305 cooperative members (as at: 31.03.2016). The cooperative shares are, in principle, only repayable in the event of insolvency of the bank and are not interest bearing. In addition, redeemable shares may be issued if at least one non-redeemable share was subscribed.

By subscribing to share certificates, members of the cooperative waive any economic self-interest for the benefit of the joint enterprise.

The supreme decision-making body of Freie Gemeinschaftsbank is the General Assembly of members of the cooperative. The members of the cooperative are invited to get involved with issues about the substantive development of the bank on so-called “cooperative member days”. The cooperative member days are held under the overarching theme of “Handling money differently”.

Freie Gemeinschaftsbank has a Management Committee consisting of three persons, three division heads and 15 employees.

Management Board

  • Jean-Marc Decressonnière
  • Nathalie Pedrocchi
  • Max Ruhri

Market Focus, Products and Services

Freie Gemeinschaftsbank operates in Switzerland and in neighbouring countries. It sees itself primarily as a credit bank, which through lending supports people and groups of people who make or want to make a positive contribution to the development of society and the environment. Therefore, loans are supportive of people and the environment- sustainable and ecological.

The bank strives to unite with borrowers and ensures that loans can engender long-term customer relationships, enabling loyalty and allegiance. The bank offers special types of loans, even if they are more time-consuming, such as joint security loans. Freie Gemeinschaftsbank is not interested in profit-oriented projects.

In order to reflect these concerns with maximum transparency, the bank publishes the names of all borrowers in its annual report.

Products

‘Lending to projects and enterprises, whose work will benefit people and the environment as much as possible’

  • Basic account, savings account and fixed-term deposits; customers can choose which loan areas their deposit money should be assigned to – biological agriculture, schools, medicine, social institutions, residential projects, industry
  • Retirement savings account (tied, private retirement savings account)
  • Maestro card
  • Internet banking
  • Mediation and support of direct loans by bringing together lenders and borrowers (fiduciary loans). The fiduciary loans offer the opportunity for trustees to selectively support a project.
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Key figures for Freie Gemeinschaftsbank Genossenschaft

* Figures in USD million
** Based on local currency
 20152014201320122011
Total Assets268271282248241
Total Loans184178199179168
Total Deposits248251260227221
Total Equity1918201918
Equity /Total Assets7,1%6,8%7,2%7,8%7,7%
BIS 1 Ratio14,0%11,9%10,2%10,3%10,0%
Total Revenue44444
Net Income10000
Total Loans/Total Assets68,9%65,8%70,4%72,3%69,9%
Total Deposits/Total Assets92,6%92,7%92,2%91,6%91,6%
Loan Growth **3,7%-0,3%8,0%3,6%1,7%
Deposit Growth**-1,1%7,3%11,6%0,2%11,5%
Cost/Income Ratio89,1%91,7%88,6%79,9%91,8%
Return on Assets0,2%0,0%0,0%0,0%0,0%
Return on Equity2,7%0,0%0,0%0,0%0,1%
Co-workers2221221819

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