Banca Popolare Etica is the first institution of ethical finance in Italy.
The inspiring vision of Banca Popolare Etica consists in creating a place where savers, driven by the common desire of a more transparent and responsible management of financial resources, may meet socio-economic initiatives, inspired by the values of a sustainable social and human development.
The bank manages savings raised from private citizens, as singles or families, organisations, companies and institutions in general, and invests them in initiatives pursuing both social and economic objectives, operating in full respect of human dignity and the environment.
While doing so, the Bank promotes financial education to both savers and borrowers by enhancing the awareness of the formers about their saving's destination, and encouraging the latter to develop their management and entrepreneurial abilities.
Banca Popolare Etica has not rejected the basic rules of finance, but it rather seeks to reform its main values.
Over and above the traditional economic evaluation procedures, the projects to be financed undergo an evaluation aimed at analysing the consequences of the projects on common welfare and natural environment. In this respect, Banca Etica carries out a thorough analysis of the social and environmental responsibility.
Initial minimum capital of € 6.3 millions, according national regulations.
Evidence of success
At the end of 2017, the Share capital of the Bank totalled over € 65 million owned by 41.539 members. Total savings were € 1,3 billion and loans come to € 1,1 billion. The rate of net bad debts decreased compared to last year to 0.89%, against an average of the Italian banking system which - albeit declining - is at 3.74%.
Potential for learning or transfer
European institutions have shown interested in Banca Etica's experience in Italy: the Bank was asked from the Council of Europe to contribute to the writing of the "European Chart to support ethical and joint initiatives", presented in 2004.
Banca Etica is one of the founders of FEBEA, the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks, an international association which unites banks and financial co-operatives engaged in ethical finance in their country. FEBEA's task is to provide the tools necessary for existing organisations, to incorporate, develop and sustain new socially and environmentally oriented banks or financial structures.
In 2002 FEBEA has given way to the incorporation of SEFEA, European Company for Alternative Ethical Finance, which is a Consortium of alternative and ethical financial institutions, created in order to strengthen and increase ethical and social finance organisations throughout Europe.