Business, Economics and Jobs

Dutch 'social bank' doing well


Dutch 50 Guilder note (image: pixelfrenzy/Flickr)

Charles Middleton, the bank's managing director in the United Kingdom explains their efforts.

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Some of the world's largest financial institutions have gone under in recent weeks.  But, there is one bank in Europe that is doing just fine.  It is a so-called "social bank" based in the Netherlands named Triodos.  Charles Middleton is the managing director for Triodos in the U.K.

What kind of loans does Triodos offer?  Middleton says, "We only lend to projects, businesses, individuals that are making a positive difference in a social or environmental arena.  This covers things like fair trade, social housing, and renewables--those sorts of areas.

For example, Triodos has made some recent loans to businesses with interest in organinc agriculture.  Since these businesses work closely with outlets like locally-owned farmer's markets, they are less likely to be affected by the economy at large, as a larger corporate supermarket might.

"We will not lend to businesses unless they have a good business model," says Middleton.  "Because of the way in which these people run these businesses, and because they are not driven by maximization of profits in those businesses, my sense is that they are more resiliant to the current situation than many other businesses."

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