For GLS Bank, conducting a professional, sustainable banking business means the incorporation of social, ecological and economic criteria. Secure investments, credit policies and monetary transactions that make sense are its core business. GLS understands “social” to be people in their entirety, whose material, emotional and mental needs should be the focus of economic activities. GLS considers “ecological” to be the task of maintaining and developing the basis for the Earth´s livelihood. The bank regards “economy” as an instrument for achieving these first two goals as efficiently as possible. The money of its customers is invested exclusively in companies and projects whose performance under the above mentioned criteria is outstanding.
The GLS Bank was the first social and ecological bank in Germany. The bank was founded in 1974 and originally focused on ecologic, social and cultural projects, such as anthroposophic schools, Demeter farms and communal living projects. Over time, the focus has widened, thus including other independent schools (e.g. Montessori schools) and organic farms into its portfolio. After the accident at Tschernobyl in 1986, other sectors were introduced, such as renewable energy projects. In 1989, the first wind energy fund was established by the bank and in 2003 GLS Bank took over the activities of Ökobank, an ethically and ecologically oriented bank in Germany. Nowadays, following the financial crisis the demand for sustainable banking products has risen, hence, resulting in high growth of GLS Bank. It operates in 7 branch offices in Germany since it took over the activities of IntegraBank in 2008.
GLS Bank focuses on financing cultural, social and ecological projects that try to tackle challenges in our society by developing creative solutions. We offer a wide array of products: from current accounts and financial investments to asset management, financings, shareholdings and foundation consultancy services. Loans are offered to companies and projects such as independent schools and kindergartens, organic farms, organic food-stores, institutions using therapeutic pedagogy and others. With our transparent socio-ecological concept and sensible, safe investment opportunities we enable our customers to make informed decisions and assume responsibility. This concept works due to collaboration of three strong partners: GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG for banking, GLS Treuhand e.V. for foundation affairs, and GLS Beiteiligungs AG.