Developing a European branch network is fundamental to Triodos Bank. It allows it to build and share expertise. It brings a credible set of services to thousands of business and personal customers, and it grows sustainable banking’s scale and impact. And while the values that bind its customers and co-workers are the same, there are important differences. Regulations, tax incentives and government approaches to sustainability are sometimes markedly different in diverse markets.
2010 was a turbulent year for banking, the wider economy and millions of individuals and businesses across Europe. An acute economic downturn prompted widespread government austerity measures in general, and rethinking around sustainability policy in particular. This was felt powerfully in all the European countries where we work.
Growth continued despite, and sometimes as a continuing result of the crisis and the fall-out from it. Triodos Bank in the Netherlands continued to expand rapidly, growing by more than 2,000 customers per month, and made secure purchases online possible via the bank. The Spanish branch also grew in all areas, implementing a new ICT platform, and successfully positioned itself as a ‘first bank’ for Spanish clients. While the German branch, in its first full year of operation, attracted around 1,000 customers.
Lending was up in all branches, with particularly growth in Belgium, the UK and Spain in 2010. In the United Kingdom lending was up by 25%, to over GBP 300 million. In Belgium the branch financed its 150th wind turbine during the year. At the same time the German branch made approximately EUR 24 million in new loans.
The financial crisis also prompted many people to reassess their banks and their finances. Some looked for a different approach, and found Triodos Bank as a credible, transparent and increasingly logical place to put their money. In the Dutch branch, funds entrusted were up by EUR 228 million, exceeding expectations of EUR 125 million. In Belgium they grew by 12% up by EUR 86 million, while the Belgian Private Banking activities grew by 28% up to EUR 49 million.