One magazine I always look forward to receiving is Fast Company, not only do they love the same companies as we, but their pages are chock full of ideas and real-world case studies. I find something inspiring in every issue.
But I was surprised to spot (April issue) this headline in the upper-left corner of the cover —
One Bank to Love
— and immediately thought of Vancity. But the object of Fast Company’s affection this month was Triodos Bank, a Dutch bank founded in 1980 (company timeline) with a mission similar to my Vancity friends in Vancouver. Wikipedia says Triodos is a pioneer in ethical banking and that it “lends only to companies and nonprofits with social or ecological benefits.”
And to prove that they follow this mantra, Triodos maintains an open database of the organizations it lends to. You can search by country and sector, or narrow your search to specific topics such as “wind farms” (see UK results below).
Search results at Triodos Bank UK for “wind farms” (link, 24 March 2010)
Relevance to Netbankers
While many negative stories have yet to run, the tide may be about to turn. The press will increasingly be looking for positive stories where banks and credit unions are helping customers and small businesses flourish. You can help by identifying individual success stories within your customer base.
Or go full bore with a searchable database of your commercial loan customers, especially those in nonprofit sectors. Naturally, this requires written consent from your clients, but if there’s something in it for them (e.g., free publicity), you should get quite a few takers.
If that’s a little too open, you could anonymously map commercial loan recipients (similar to the screenshot above). That would demonstrate your involvement in various communities/neighborhoods without a lengthy consent process.