International Network Commits To Support $2 billion Values-based Lending Expansion
A new network of growing, crisis-resistant, sustainable banks has announced an ambitious commitment to support the expansion of $2 billion in lending to underserved communities and green projects around the world.
The Global Alliance for Banking on Values made the announcement at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York this month. The independent network of eleven of the world’s leading sustainable banks – who serve over 7 million customers, in 20 countries, with a combined balance sheet of over $14 billion – was launched earlier this year in the Netherlands. According to its Chair, it already has concrete proposals to start making a major impact.
‘We commit, over three years, to assist our members and other sustainable finance institutions to secure $250 million in additional capital,’ says Peter Blom, CEO of Dutch ethical bank, Triodos, and Chair of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. ‘This capital will lead to $2 billion in new lending. At a time when the global financial system is struggling to lend, our members and other genuinely sustainable banks will benefit millions of borrowers – from individual entrepreneurs in Asia, Africa and South America, to pioneering new green projects in North America and Europe.’
‘Sustainable banks will need to raise capital to continue to build on their considerable achievements and deliver on their huge potential,’ says Mary Houghton, President of the ShoreBank Corporation. ‘The commitment we are announcing today demonstrates just how powerful this opportunity is. We are determined to take it.’
The Global Alliance for Banking on Values United States launch, took place at the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting on Friday 25 September. The banks in the Alliance range from ShoreBank Corporation, the first community development and environmental bank holding company in the U.S., based in Chicago, to BRAC Bank – part of the BRAC Group, the world’s largest microfinance institution – and Triodos Bank, Europe’s leading sustainable bank and this year’s winner of the Financial Times Sustainable Bank of the Year Award.
The new partnership plans to develop new ways of working, build organizations better suited to long-term sustainable thinking, and new forms of ownership and economic cooperation. And, given the financial crisis, and its profound and lasting influence, the new Alliance believes its timing is crucial.
According to Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, ‘If we are to tackle the global problems we face, we are going to need international action to do it. We believe these banks have the potential to change the architecture of the financial world, and start delivering lasting solutions for unserved and underserved communities and sectors.’
25 September 2009
To qualify for membership, each institution has to meet three criteria:
- They are independent and licensed banks with a focus on retail customers;
- with a minimum balance sheet of $50 million
- and, most significantly, they should be committed to responsible financing and the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.