We want to share the real stories of sustainable banking, by showcasing the impact of our member banks here. Because behind every bank there are thousands of stories of people using money positively to improve the quality of life for individuals and communities wherever they are in the world. 

The case studies you can view here offer a peek inside the window of some of the world’s most groundbreaking and progressive banks and their clients. But it is only a glimpse. Each bank has a wealth of stories and experiences that they actively share with their customers and the world. It’s a level of transparency that is not generally associated with the financial sector.

The banks featured here share a profoundly different perspective on how banking can, and should, work. For them, finance starts with meeting human needs in an environmentally-responsible way and as a means to that end, finishes with profitable banks delivering them.

Whilst there are differences in the business models of the GABV’s member banks, they are all unified by a core set of principles and a belief that a bank’s role, first and foremost, is to serve the needs of people. By practising a contemporary form of traditional banking, rooted in local economies and focused on expert understanding of sustainability sectors, these banks and their clients are laying a path to a new type of economy.

Each bank represents an inspiring example of what a transformed banking sector could really look like. And each of their case studies offers an insight into their impact on their clients – the entrepreneurs and catalysts of this new economy – on the sectors they work in, and on wider society.

The following pages are a selection of stories about entrepreneurs working with their bankers. And while the term ‘banker’ has become almost toxic in the wake of the financial crisis, these bankers are justifiably proud of what they have achieved for society rather than for themselves. They show just what can be done when money is used positively, when the creativity of entrepreneurs is unlocked and when banks are run on a deeply embedded set of principles and values, based on mutual care and respect.

These inspiring stories are also told through an exhibition, first shown, at the GABV’s fifth annual meeting, in Berlin in 2013. The exhibition was accompanied with a book, Change Makers – The Stories Behind the Values Based Banks Transforming the Worldwhich you can view here.


Recycling Alternative3 Vancity

Recycling Alternative, Vancouver, Canada

Nepal Clean Energy Development Bank

Empowering communities through clean energy project finance, Nepal

ecology-ian-1296-edit2 Ecology Building Society

How Sustainable Housing is Helping to Build Resilient Communities, UK

bankmecu bankmecu

Secure Housing for Women escaping Domestic Violence, Melbourne, Australia


Turning Coconut Fibre into Carpet Threads, Bangladesh

xacbank XacBank

Energy Efficiency in the Coldest Capital in the World, Mongolia

centenary Centenary Bank

A Tea Factory Owned by its Growers, Western Uganda

triodos Triodos Bank

Building Better Lives in Bristol, UK

gls GLS Bank

A Kindergarten in Nature, Germany

merkur Merkur Cooperative Bank

Farming for Future Generations, Denmark

cultura Cultura Bank

Ecological fruit and vegetables– for delivery, or at a gourmet ecological restaurant, Norway

credit-coop Crédit Coopératif

Overcoming Social Exclusion through Enterprise, France

banco-poplare Banca Etica

From Convict to Craftsman: Re-Skilling former Inmates in Sicily, Italy

alt Alternative Bank Switzerland

Empowering Women with Disabilities through Employment, Switzerland

mibanco Mibanco, Banco de la Microempresa

Home-grown, Women-Owned Businesses, Peru

bancosol BancoSol

Sewing and Self-sufficiency in Bolivia

banco-fie Banco Fie

Women’s Organic Farming Partnership, Bolivia

sac SAC Apoyo Integral, S.A.

From Seed to Cup: Quality Coffee Production in El Salavador

first-green First Green Bank

Contributing to the local food movement and sustainable agriculture, USA

sunrise Sunrise Banks

Secure Housing for Vulnerable Adults, Minneapolis, USA

one-pacific Beneficial State Bank

Family Business: How renewable energy technology is keeping farming alive, USA

new-resource New Resource Bank

Ceramics and Job Creation in San Francisco, USA

assiniboine Assiniboine Credit Union

Serving up Local Food, Great Jobs, and an International Menu, Canada

affinity Affinity Credit Union

A programme teaching young people how to manage their financial affairs, Canada