Green economy  |  Successes  |  08.07.2011

GLS Bank

The GLS Bank was the first social and ecological bank in Germany. GLS stands for "community bank for loans and gifts. The bank was founded in 1974 and it currently finances around 11,580 projects and businesses.

The Bank focuses on cultural, social and ecological projects which try to tackle challenges in the society by developing creative solutions. Loans are offered to projects like independent schools and kindergartens, organic farms, institutions using therapeutic pedagogy, nursing homes, projects for the unemployed, health-food stores and communal living projects, as well as sustainable businesses. As of 31 December 2010 the balance sheet total was 1,846.5 million EUR, which is an increase of 37% compared to 2009. The Bank offers its savers the usual range of financial products such as Current Accounts, Savings Accounts, Savings Certificates, Investment funds as well as Bank Membership. What distinguishes the GLS Bank is not only the fact that it invests the savers’ money responsibly, but also that savers can choose the area in which their money will be invested.

The GLS Treuhand (GLS Charitable Trust Foundation), is an association of more than 290 charitable organizations. Its main areas of activity are fundraising, consultation regarding private legacies and transforming business into charitable capital. The GLS Treuhand acts as a charitable trust administrating various foundations and it is supporting the social, ecological and cultural aims of its charitable member-organizations.  As of 31 December 2009 the business volume was 70 million EUR. With the five “Foundations for the Future” (“Zukunftsstiftungen”) the GLS Treuhand is engaged in the areas of Agriculture, Development aid, Education, Health care and Social welfare. The GLS Beteiligungsaktien-gesellschaft (BAG) is a subsidiary owned by the GLS Bank. Its objective is to assist companies with finding equity capital and its share capital amounts to 3,2 million EUR. The BAG has issued funds for renewable energy and the social economy.

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creative commons flickr.com Aaron Patterson