Why borrow from an ethical bank? A YMCA chief executive responds

By Sep 02, 2015

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Alan Fraser, chief executive of YMCA Birmingham explains how loans have supported his organisation and why he borrowed from an ethical bank.

Tell me a bit about your YMCA

By coming along to their local YMCA, a young man or woman can become part of an inclusive community of people of all ages, faiths, cultures and backgrounds. Not ghettoised but included. Not apart from, but part of. That’s our youth minded community approach.

How did YMCA Birmingham use its Charity Bank loan?

We used a loan from Charity Bank to help build a block of 34 apartments, with training rooms and community facilities, for 16 to 25 year olds.

How has the loan supported your YMCA and its goals?

It’s excellent news for the city as it provides much-needed housing. The development will also increase our income-generating capacity through additional rent, a café and room hire.

Why did you borrow from an ethical bank?

We wanted to work with a bank that understood the charitable sector and the kind of business that we’re in. We wanted to know that our bank was operating to the same ethical standards as we do and that they saw us as a partner in doing good, rather than just a customer from whom they could make money.

Charity Bank pulled out all of the stops to make the deal happen – they were quick, efficient, clear in their requirements, but also flexible and realistic. It really felt like a breath of fresh air. The support and help offered by the team was exemplary – we were kept fully informed every step of the way.


An artist's impression of the new Birmingham YMCA building.