The Guide to Sustainable Banking 2013

By Alex Blackburne from Blue and Green Tomorrow

Banking does not have to be evil. It is absurd that we even have to say those seven words, but the last five years of scandals and crises in the mainstream banking arena have led to widespread mistrust of the industry. According to data in Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer, banks and financial services more generally were the least trusted industries globally in 2013 – with just half of respondents (50%) saying they trust each. * An increasing number of people are therefore actively seeking out alternative options. This doesn’t just mean banks that have an obvious positive social or environmental benefit, although they are crucial. It also covers banks that are focused on benefitting the local economy; banks with different business models; and banks owned by their members. Our banking system is currently dominated by a few big banks, but the key to a prosperous, long-term focused economy is diversification – as well as transparency and sustainability. Blue & Green Tomorrow’s The Guide to Sustainable Banking  hopes to provide you with some of the best options in the alternative space, covering banks, building societies and credit unions. The guide is effectively split into two parts. The first is a brief outline of what’s gone wrong in mainstream banking, which many readers will have read in newspapers and the pages of Blue & Green Tomorrow. Meanwhile, for others, their reasons for considering the alternative sector are more personal, having been on the receiving end of some of the irresponsible behaviour themselves. The second section is an in-depth look into some of the leading alternative players for both individual and business needs: Triodos, Charity Bank, Unity Trust Bank, Ecology Building Society and Handelsbanken. Diversification, transparency and sustainability: the three pillars of the banking system of the future. Given that many of the alternative institutions have these values embedded into their very core today, the message is surely, “Switch today, for tomorrow.”   *- http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/trust-2013/trust-across-sectors/trust-in-financial-services/ HSBGTAr/051113  

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