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GLS Bank growth passes 500 million euro mark

27.01.2005 - NNA Nachrichten

Growth at the GLS-Gemeinschaftsbank ethical investment bank in Germany surpassed 500m euros (£346.4m, US$650.6m) last year. The forecasts of the bank had thus been “clearly exceeded“ in all respects, board spokesman Thomas Jorberg told journalists at the presentation of last year’s results on Wednesday.

The GLS management saw the reasons for such a positive business development  in the continuing interest of people in ethical and ecological investment as well as in the synergy effects arising from the takeover last year of another alternative bank, Ökobank, which had been threatened by financial collapse before being taken over by GLS. The bank now represents 42,000 customers and has granted more than 3,300 loans to projects in the fields of culture, ecology and social initiatives.

As part of its expansion, this pioneer in the field of ethical and ecological banking is also building itself new premises which it hopes to move into from the current ThyssenKrupp-EnCoke building in the summer. 

The balance sheet total of the GLS-Bank rose by 12.1 percent in 2004 to approximately 497m euros (£344.3m, US$646.7m), the business volume to 504m euros (£349.2m, US$655.8m). There was also a clear rise in loans to customers of 16.5 percent to 297.5m euros (£206.1, US$387.1) as well as in customer deposits of 10.8 percent to 431.8m euros (£299.2m, US$561.9m). During the same period, equity capital rose by about 25 percent to 24m euros (£16.6m, US$31.2m). If holdings and foundation trusts are taken into account, the GLS Group has in the meantime been asked to look after approximately 640m euros (£443.4m, US$832.8). More than 13,000 people are members of the cooperative bank

Almost one fifth of the money lent by the bank in 2004 went to alternative forms of housing. There was a clear increase in loans for regenerative energy projects with a share of 12.4 percent ( 7.7 percent in the previous year) as well as in projects for senior citizens, medical, therapeutic and care projects at 7.1 percent ( 4.8 percent in the previous year). There was a fall, however, in commercial financing.

Of the important developments in 2004, the involvement of the bank in the establishment of the Deutsche Mikrofinanz Instituts (DMI) (German Microfinance Institute) as a weapon to help combat unemployment was highlighted at the press conference. GLS Bank also set up the GLS Academy to hold seminars for its customers and conduct research into issues relating to the future of the monetary and economic system.

The takeover of Ökobank means that the GLS Bank now also offers sustained construction financing. The bank anticipates further growth from this department, which has been restructured in recent months. The Bochum-based bank now employs over 160 staff in five locations in Germany.