15 reasons why we’re a bank for good

By Oct 17, 2017

Posted in

Fifteen years ago we began our journey as an independent ethical bank, providing loans to charities and social enterprises with the support of our very first savers, both individuals and organisations.

To mark the occasion, here are 15 characteristics that we think make us a bank for good.

1. We send your money on a mission

We lend our savers’ money only to charities and social enterprises and other organisations where the loan is for a social purpose.

Our loans support a wide range of organisations across the arts, community, education, environment, faith, health, housing, regeneration, social care and sports.

2. We’ve lent over £195 million to charities and social enterprises

When we started out we had assets of little more than £6m. Since then we’ve lent more than £195m to charities and social enterprises, touching the lives of more than one million people from across the UK.

3. We help you put your money where your values are

With us, your savings can become a powerful force for good: they might be used to build affordable homes, launch community projects or help disadvantaged young people find employment.

4. We're entirely owned by charitable foundations, trusts and social purpose organisations.

Our shareholders are social investors, looking to invest in business that is wholeheartedly committed to a social cause.

5. 99% of our borrowers would recommend us

As revealed by our 2016 borrowers survey.

YMCA Birmingham housing

Staff and residents at YMCA Birmingham enjoy their new building, The Vineyard, part funded by a Charity Bank loan

6. We’re the only bank with the Social Enterprise Mark

We are the only bank with the Social Enterprise Mark, which recognises our social purpose and social sector ownership.

7. We’re a Certified B Corporation

B Corporations are companies that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

Charity Bank became the first bank in Europe and sixth organisation in the UK to become a Certified B Corporation in January 2015. There are now 150 certified B Corps in the UK.

8. We know impact measurement is vital

We measure social impact to assess organisations looking to borrow and to assess our own progress as a bank for good. Impact measurement is at the core of banking for good and a vital tool for us in:

  • deciding whether to make a loan;
  • seeing how we’re helping organisations improve and grow;
  • understanding and tracking our borrowers’ ability to achieve their social missions;
  • showing our savers and shareholders where their money is going; and
  • understanding what works for our borrowers and making better decisions.

9. We support our local community

We have a staff committee that seeks to support our local community.

Activities include donating to a local food bank, fundraising for good causes, promoting volunteer opportunities, seeking to buy from local and ethical suppliers, and taking part in community and fundraising events.

10. Our mission is protected by our governing documents

Charity Bank was founded in 2002 with a charitable mission to lend money to charities and social enterprises.

Strengthening charitable organisations and helping them to make a bigger difference is at the very core of Charity Bank’s mission and is protected by our governing documents.

11. We give staff time off to volunteer

All our staff can spend up to 50 of their contracted hours volunteering for a charity or community group, as a trustee or in another capacity. In this way, our staff can share their expertise and experience the kinds of issues that our borrowers face on a daily basis.

12. We pay the Living Wage

The Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay which is calculated against the cost of living in the UK. It is monitored independently by the Living Wage Foundation and updated annually so that employees can benefit from pay levels which reflect the true cost of living.

13. We do not pay bonuses

Employees do not receive discretionary bonuses.

14. We show you where your money goes

We’re transparent about the organisations to which we lend, sharing stories from charities and social enterprises on the impact of our lending. Savers can see how their money is making a difference and staff can see the outcomes of their work.

15. We view you as a partner in our work

Our borrowers, savers, shareholders and staff are all part of the Charity Bank community and share the common goal of using money as a powerful tool for good.

. . . So we hope you’ll agree: when we say we’re an ethical bank, we mean it.

Tweet, share and spread the word to raise awareness of ethical banking and encourage even more people to join a community turning finance into a powerful force for good.