[Editor's note: GEO first reported on plans for a Croatian Ebank (Ethical Bank) last year. We're happy to see that things are still on track and moving along. For more information about this innovative model, see the this report and slide presentation.]
From June 5 to June 7, the beautiful Croatian town of Split will host the general assembly of FEBEA – European Federation of Alternative and Ethical Banks. This event comes as a consequence of two years of extraordinary effort of a group of professionals to establish the first ethical bank in Croatia. Its registration with the Croatian National Bank is set to occur in the course of June.
The term ‘ethical banking’ may not immediately be recognized in the Balkans. Nevertheless, FEBEA exists 15 years and its banks currently manage about EUR 40 billion worth of assets. The umbrella gathers seven ethical banks: Crédit Coopératif (France), Caisse Solidaire du Nord Pas-de-Calais (France), Crédal (Belgium), Hefboom (Belgium), Banca Etica (Italy), TISE (Poland) and La Nef (France).
Although the banking business in the beginnings of it establishment included a strong social element, it has started losing its original ethical features since the 1930s. This has made necessary the birth (through a bottom-up process) of a new generation of social banks, the so-called ethical banks...
The ethical bank in Croatia, when founded, will become an ethical development bank which will be owned entirely by its own clients. Instead of high profits, its primary goals will aim to contribute to a better society and the wellbeing of its co-owners. According to the COF’s representatives, the bank’s way of business doing plans to incorporate the following principles:
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