Can money change the world?
Ekobanken is a transparent bank and part of the movement known as “value-based banking”. Founded as an alternative to the traditional banking world, it is unique of its kind. In addition to reporting all its loans openly, so its customers can access this information, the bank has been named Sweden’s most sustainable bank for six years in a row by the Fair Finance Guide.
“We are a member-owned bank and our mission is to put money to work to help create a sustainable future. The people who bank with us can find out what their money is being used for. We want to encourage a financial system in which money is used for people and our planet, so we only lend money to businesses and organizations that share this ethos,” explains Maria Flock Åhlander, CEO of Ekobanken.
The money in the bank is invested in a way that ensures society becomes more ecologically, socially, culturally and economically sustainable. The bank achieves this by providing loans to social entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations and businesses that want to contribute to a sustainable future and speed up the transition that we need right now. The common denominator is sustainability, and the businesses allowed to borrow money from the bank must be able to report how their activities are contributing towards ecological, social or cultural development.
“Our borrowers are scrutinized, just like all other borrowers, with the major difference that their business concept should contribute to sustainable development. And we believe the best way to contribute to a more sustainable future is to invest your money the right way. We’re convinced that money can change the world in a positive direction,” says Maria Flock Åhlander.
Ekobanken was established in 1998 and is a member-owned bank with 2,806 members all over Sweden. The bank is the only Swedish bank that’s qualified to become a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), an international network of 67 banks worldwide, all working to make capital sustainable and transparent. The bank is completely unique by being the only bank that transparently publishes the names of the borrowers it lends money to on its website. This lets its customers know exactly what their money is used for, so they can feel completely confident about the businesses their savings are financing.
“Ekobanken is growing and lending increased by as much as 18% in 2021. We’re naturally delighted about this. We aim to be the most trustworthy bank in Sweden when it comes to managing our customers’ money so that it supports sustainable development, and the fact that we are growing is a good sign of how much our customers appreciate us,” says CEO Maria Flock Åhlander.
Ekobanken is exhibiting at Nordic Sustainability Expo with some of its partners: Mikrofonden, Coompanion and Skoopi. At their joint stand, visitors will be able to learn more about how Ekobanken works, what it means to be a member of the bank, and discover more about the bank’s customers. This is a golden opportunity to delve deeper into ethical savings and social enterprise, and to find out more about how money is put to good use at the bank.
Like all banks, Ekobanken is regulated and overseen by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority and customers are covered by the deposit guarantee. There are currently some restrictions on their services – they are unable to offer the Swish mobile payment system, for example. Read more at www.ekobanken.se