Pioneers Post
the business
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  • user warning: UPDATE command denied to user '408302_semagad'@'10.187.244.243' for table 'cache_filter' query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>I realised that I had reached a certain age when my two eldest teenage daughters started delving into my wardrobe and emerging victorious with an old and well worn item of clothing or footwear saying &lsquo;Mum, this is sooo now!&rsquo;</p>\n<p>I had the same feeling reading newly appointed Lord Nat Wei extol the virtues and potential of social ISAs and social savings accounts in The Guardian. If he and Nick Hurd were to rummage through my professional wardrobe they would find that Charity Bank has been offering social savings accounts and ISAs for eight years; that Triodos has developed a market in ethical savings products as well as renewable bonds; that the Ecology Building Society offers savings accounts that only fund sustainable mortgages, and<br /> that Unity Bank has a range of different deposit accounts targeted at funding the social economy.</p>\n<p>These organisations were pioneers in this area long before it became fashionable and they have a wealth of experience and knowledge that can be tapped. So what lessons have they learned?</p>\n<p>First, that to be trusted as custodians of people&rsquo;s savings they need to be properly regulated as banks and have survived the oversight requirements of a rigorous financial regulator.</p>\n<p>Second, how to offer an attractive return on savings while protecting against &lsquo;mission drift&rsquo;, and achieving sustainability in their own right.</p>\n<p>Third, how to be effective pathfinders in understanding the risks involved in investing primarily on behalf of society and the environment as well as protecting investor funds.</p>\n<p>Finally, how to screen, assess and quantify the positive social and environmental impact they have achieved.</p>\n<p>These are banks that did not need bail-outs or liquidity packages. Having spent years swimming against the tide their business models, quite rightly, are becoming fashionable. The challenge is to allow them to grow to deliver transformational change.</p>\n<p>So, instead of creating a new replica that will have to weather the same battles, Lord Nat Wei might consider looking at the original Doc Martens of the social finance sector. If they are polished up, nourished and supported, they could be a sensation at next year&rsquo;s financial services catwalk.</p>\n', created = 1464666825, expire = 1464753225, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:eb7171ca0087f292318ecde2e439ef32' in /mnt/stor2-wc1-dfw1/408302/www.socialenterpriselive.com/web/content/includes/cache.inc on line 109.
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Home economics: follow the original finance fashionistas

22 July 2010

Advocates of social banking should learn from the pioneers says Caroline Mason chief operating officer at Charity Bank

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