The financial crisis prompted millions of people to critically assess their banks and how they handle their finances. Some of them have looked for a different approach, seeing Triodos Bank as a credible, transparent and increasingly logical place to put their money. This meant significant growth in 2010. Overall funds entrusted grew by EUR 454 million, up 18%, against a target of between 15 and 20%.
In Spain a new debit card, linked to responsible consumption, as well as a growing profile, helped to increase new customers by over 60%. UK savings were up by GBP 30 million, with its online offering proving popular during the year. In Germany two new products were launched: a credit card for individuals and a current account for business customers. Around 1,000 people have become customers, depositing around EUR 24 million, in line with expectations.
In Belgium, funds entrusted grew by 12%, despite competition from high-street banks eager to regain the confidence of Belgian savers, and with the benefit of relatively high interest rates in an historically low interest market.
In the Netherlands Triodos Bank exceeded savings growth expectations substantially, attracting over EUR 227 million, against expectations of EUR 125 million. During 2010 the Dutch branch’s breadth of sustainable funds proved popular with investors. A small number closed early in the year because of large amounts of investment that could not be invested in projects in sufficient volumes. Later in the year new rules reduced the tax benefit on some Dutch funds, prompting another temporary closure.
Triodos Bank is in the unusual position of attracting large volumes of savings with some ease, and being independent of financial markets for its own funding. While this reflects its positive and growing appeal, in the short-term at least it reduces profitability. Ironically other European banks, who are less successful at attracting savings and dependent on the financial markets for their funding needs, can borrow very cheaply from the European Central Bank improving their relative profitability.