Banca Etica is a cooperative bank that operates in Italy and Spain. It was established thanks to the commitment of a number of individuals and organizations who joined forces to create a credit institution based on Ethical Finance principles: transparency, participation, sobriety, efficiency and attention to the non-economic consequences of economic actions.
Its democratic management and ethical approach are ensured by the fact that its members freely participate according to the “one head, one vote” principle: all shareholders have the same right to vote in the General Assembly, irrespective of the number of shares they own. Thanks to the accumulated savings, Banca Etica funds projects aimed at welfare, social economy, environmental protection, innovation, international cooperation and culture. This information is verifiable: Banca Etica is the only bank in Italy that publishes all its loans on its website.
Banca Etica offers the main banking products and services, and a different banking experience founded on relationships: the focus on people and organizations is guaranteed by a network of bank branches and financial advisors all over Italy, in addition to complete online service accessible to all clients. Ninety groups of volunteer members work to ensure the development of local relations, promoting the Ethical Finance culture and the possibility of actively participating in an economic democracy project.
Banca Etica was the result of the encounter, at the end of the 1980s, between Mutua Autogestione (Mag) – the forerunners of ethical finance cooperatives in Italy – and the Third Sector, volunteer work and international cooperation organizations, unable to find an answer to their credit needs in the traditional financial system at that time.
The sweeping legislative changes made to the Italian financial system in the early 1990’s accelerated the need for a new financial entity: a bank fully based on the principles of ethical finance, capable of meeting Third Sector needs and fostering a change in the credit system.
The proposal became a reality on December 1994 with the founding of the Verso Banca Etica Association, transformed in 1995 into the Verso Banca Etica Cooperative, with the aim of raising 6.5 million euros, the minimum share capital required by law to apply to the Bank of Italy for authorization to establish a new bank.
In the process of raising the share capital, thousands of citizens spontaneously joined the founding organizations* to become shareholders in the exciting project of building a bank together. The total amount of required share capital was raised by 1998 and shortly afterwards the Bank of Italy granted authorization to operate.On the 8th of March 1999, Banca Etica opened its first bank branch in Padua.
The founding members
ACLI (Associazioni Cristiane Lavoratori Italiani), AGESCI (Associazione Guide e Scout Cattolici Italiani), ARCI (Associazioni Ricreative Culturali Italiane), Ass. Botteghe del Commercio Equo Solidale, Ass. Italiana Agricoltura Biologica, CGM (Consorzio Gino Mattarelli), Cooperativa Oltremare, Cooperazione Terzo Mondo, CtmMag (attuale Consorzio Etimos), Emmaus Italia, Europe Conservation, Fiba-Cisl Brianza, Gruppo Abele, Janus, Mag 2 Finance Milano, Mag 4 Piemonte Torino, Mag Venezia, Mani Tese, Overseas, Uisp, Ust-Cisl Brianza