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