Pioneering network offers new path for banking sector: As Australia’s Financial Service Inquiry gets underway, the world’s leading values-based banks met in Melbourne to argue for a very different kind of banking system.

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The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a growing, independent network of 25 of the world’s leading values-based banks, held its 2014 annual conference in Melbourne, hosted by its only Australian member, bankmecu.

The network, which counts the world’s most prominent sustainable banks among its membership, promotes a transition to a more resilient, transparent and diverse banking landscape.  Launched in 2009 to grow the impact of values-based banking globally, it now has combined assets of almost USD$ 80 billion and provides banking service to more than 20 million clients in six continents.

“We are bringing CEOs from the world’s leading sustainable banks together in Australia to demonstrate the power of people-first banking,” said Peter Blom, CEO of Pan-European sustainable bank, Triodos Bank, and Chair of the GABV.

“These banks have a successful track record of balancing the needs of people, the planet, and prosperity. We want to use these positive examples to demonstrate that a more diverse ecology of banks, made up of both bigger banks and a breadth of smaller more specialised and innovative banks, is in the long-term interests of us all.”

bankmecu showcased the worldwide sustainable banking movement at two public events, tailored for the business community and for the general public. The events brought together senior figures from the sustainability and sustainable finance world including Australian writer, activist and social entrepreneur, Paul Gilding, Founder and Chair of Impact Investment Exchange Asia, Professor Durreen Shahnaz, and banker, author and sustainability consultant, Pavan Sukhdev.

Although each GABV bank is unique, they share a commitment to using money to actively benefit people and the environment. They make business decisions, first, by identifying a human need, and then by determining how to fulfill that need on a financially sustainable basis. Together the GABV network has: created an active human capital network to build a new cadre of sustainable bankers globally; is developing a dedicated investment fund to provide capital for new and existing sustainable banks,  and is piloting a scorecard to assess and measure the bank’s social impact and sustainability to appear in GABV member banks 2013 reports later this year. 

According to Damien Walsh, Managing Director of Melbourne-based bankmecu the week was an opportunity to raise the profile in Australia of new approaches to finance and investment around the world.

“This visit of leaders of the world’s most successful values-based banks is timely as we embark on the first thorough examination of Australia’s banking system in nearly 20 years. There is much to learn from our colleagues from abroad, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to share their perspectives with regulators, business leaders and the public alike,” Mr Walsh said.

The conference included two public events on March 5th: the first – Redefining Capitalism – financing our future prosperity. The luncheon panel featured Durreen Shahnaz, Chair of Impact Investment Exchange Asia, Rumee Ali, GABV Board Member and Director and Board Member of BRAC Bank, Bangladesh, Helga Birgden, Partner and Head of Responsible Investment for Asia Pacific at Mercer, Glen Saunders, Chair of UN Principles of Responsible Investment, and Pavan Sukhdev, CEO of GIST Advisory, Visiting Fellow Yale University in conversation with Presenter of Mornings on 774 ABC Melbourne, Jon Faine.

The other public event – Banking on a More Sustainable World – also hosted by Jon Faine,  with a panel that included Tamara Vrooman, CEO of Vancity Credit Union, Canada, Paul Gilding, Independent writer and advisor on sustainability, Cambridge School Sustainable Leadership, Durreen Shahnaz, Pavan Sukhdev, Glen Saunders and Peter Blom, CEO of Triodos Bank and GABV Chair.

For more information on the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, visit www.gabv.org

For more information on bankmecu, visit www.bankmecu.com.au

Contact:

James Niven james.niven@gabv.org
+31 6 5390 8150
Fiona Nixon fiona.nixon@bankmecu.com
+61 439 578 489

Backgrounder: Global Alliance for Banking on Values

  • The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) is a membership organisation, made up of twenty-five of the world’s leading sustainable banks, from Asia, Latin America and Africa, to the US, Europe and Australia.
  • The organization began when nine of the world’s banks came together in 2009 to commit to supporting the growth of sustainable banking and its impact worldwide.
  • Members believe that we must improve the quality of life for everyone on the planet, recognizing that we are economically interdependent and responsible to current and future generations.
  • Across the world, GABV members play a crucial role in providing the money entrepreneurs and their enterprises need to transform lives and deliver sustainable development for unserved people, communities and the environment.
  • Members are bound by a shared commitment to find global solutions to international problems, and to promote a positive, viable alternative to the current financial system and mainstream banking business models.
  • Most banking institutions base their business decisions primarily or exclusively on profitability. GABV banks start by identifying a human need to be met and then determine how to meet that need on a financially sustainable basis.
  • GABV banks have combined assets of over $70 billion, and operate in over 30 countries.
  • To qualify for membership, each institution must: be an independent and licensed bank with a focus on retail customers; have a minimum balance sheet of $50 million; and be committed to responsible financing and the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.
  • In 2009: GABV committed to raising $250 million (USD) in capital over three years to support expansion of nearly $2 billion in lending to unserved communities and individuals, and green projects, at the Clinton Global Initiative. They raised $400 million in just one year.
  • In 2010, Global Alliance for Banking on Values pledged to touch the lives of a billion people by 2020 by expanding its network of banks, further increasing the capital it raises and training a new generation of sustainable bankers to use that money to make a lasting difference, and help meet the biggest challenges of our time.

Backgrounder: Global Alliance for Banking on Values Members

Australia bankmecu www.bankmecu.com.au
Bangladesh BRAC Bank and BRAC Microfinance Programme www.bracbank.com www.brac.net
Bolivia BancoSol          www.bancosol.com.bo
Bolivia Banco Fie www.bancofie.com.bo
Canada Vancity Credit Union www.vancity.com
Canada Affinity Credit Union www.affinitycu.ca
Canada Assiniboine Credit Union www.assiniboine.mb.ca
Denmark Merkur Bank www.merkurbank.dk
El Salvador SAC Apoyo Integral www.integral.com.sv
France Credit Cooperatif www.credit-cooperatif.coop
Germany GLS Bank www.gls.de
Italy Banca Popolare Etica www.bancaetica.com
Mongolia XacBank www.xacbank.com
Nepal Clean Energy Development Bank www.cedbl.com
The Netherlands Triodos Bank www.triodos.com
Norway Cultura Bank www.cultura.no
Paraguay Vision Banco www.visionbanco.com
Peru Mibanco, Banco de la Microempresa www.mibanco.com.pe
Switzerland Alternative Bank Switzerland www.abs.ch
Uganda Centenary Bank www.centenarybank.co.ug
United Kingdom Ecology Building Society www.ecology.co.uk
United States First Green Bank www.firstgreenbank.com
United States New Resource Bank www.newresourcebank.com
United States OnePacificCoast www.onepacificcoastbank.com
United States Sunrise Community Banks www.sunrisebanks.com

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