|Key figures Scorecard Impact story|
Alternative Bank Switzerland (ABS) aims to further the common good and to protect people and nature through its business activities so that the world remains worth living in – both now and in the future. It does not pursue profit maximisation. Instead, it follows ethical principles in all its business activities. As a pioneer in social and ecological banking, it sets an encouraging example for the financial industry and is a model for other banks in Switzerland.
The founding of ABS goes back to a social movement consisting of major environmental, social and development organisations and private persons that fought for an alternative, value-based approach to banking at the end of the 1980s. By 1990 it had obtained the authorisation of the Federal Banking Commission and collected the required share capital to begin operations. Its head office in Olten was opened in the same year. 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 financing from traditional banks. In 2002, ABS expanded its product range to include socially responsible investing and impact investing. An analytical tool developed by ABS, the ABS Property Rating, was launched in 2004 to assess the sustainability of buildings. Since 2012, ABS has controlled all real estate finance with respect to urban sprawl. Since 2014, ABS has offered managed accounts with a special emphasis on impact in its range of investment advisory services. Today, ABS has more than 33,000 clients, 6,500 shareholders and assets under management in the order of CHF 2 billion. It operates in two national languages (German and French) and at three locations (Olten, Zurich and Lausanne). In 2019, it will launch the first investment fund of its own and open an office in Geneva.
- Martin Rohner (Chief Executive Officer, Head of Corporate Development)
- Ursula Baumgartner (Member of the Executive Board, Head of Lending)
- Michael Diaz (Member of the Executive Board, Head of Investing)
- Etienne Bonvin (Member of the Executive Board, Head of Finance & Administration)
Market Focus, Products and Services
ABS´s products and services are aligned with its clients’ requirements concerning savings, investments, corporate finance, real estate finance and payments. The bank focuses on developing products and services that support sustainable economic activity and enable positive social and environmental change. It also aims to raise its profile in the market and to be a political voice on the role of finance in sustainable development. Loans are issued in the area of social or ecological housing (including loans for private individuals), social organisations, organic agriculture and renewable energy as well as sustainable business. The investment advice provided by the bank is aimed at people who want to invest responsibly and have a positive impact on people and the environment. ABS gears its products and services towards private individuals, non-profit associations and small and medium-sized enterprises that share its aims and values.