The Alternative Bank Switzerland (ABS) emphasises ethical principles instead of maximum profits. As the leading provider of ethical banking services and a pioneer in the implementation of social and environmental standards, ABS gives encouragement to the Swiss banking and financial markets. All banking activities are based on transparency.
ABS was initiated by the environmental, social and development organisations and movements in the end of the 1980´s. It obtained the authorisation of the Federal Banking Commission and assembled the required share capital by 1990. In that same year, the head office was opened. 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. An analytical tool developed by ABS, the “ABS property rating”, was launched in 2003 to assess sustainability of buildings. In 2005 an external authority was established to verify the bank´s ethical standards. Five offices (two branches and three information offices) have been opened in different Swiss regions.
ABS´s products and services are aligned with its client requirements concerning savings, investments, financial security, company financing, real estate and monetary transactions. Loans are issued principally in the area of social or ecological housing (also for private individuals), organic agriculture, renewable energy, as well as SME’s. ABS offers investment advice and ethical/sustainable investment funds. The focus is the development of innovative products and services that support sustainable economic actions, to amplify ABS´s profile and to provide possibilities which do not exist in the traditional market.