Countries across Europe, as well as the European Union itself, continued to wrestle with the consequences of major economic upheaval during 2012.
Popular action, often aimed at increasingly unpopular banks, added further momentum to the debate about their role, and increased the appetite among the public for authentic alternatives. In this environment, Triodos Bank successfully promoted a credible option for hundreds of thousands of people, leading to marked growth across its European network.
Growth continued in all branches, sometimes, at a rapid pace. Across all branches Triodos Bank continued to attract high levels of deposits, creating a longer-term challenge to ensure that that money is mobilised effectively. At the same time, in a difficult investment climate, investment activity continued to expand, as did Private Banking work.
How we did
To continue to grow and expand its positive impact on people, the environment and culture, Triodos Bank requires new capital. It now raises this on an annual basis, and this year exceeded the amount raised in 2011, attracting equity investment across its network of over EUR 100 million to support the organisation’s continuing growth.
Triodos Bank reached a number of significant milestones when customer numbers grew to over 200,000 in The Netherlands, and over 100,000 in Spain. In the UK customer numbers grew by 12%, exceeding deposit targets.
Triodos Bank’s most recent branch, in Germany, also cemented itself as an established part of the country’s sustainability community.
Balanced external growth in Belgium included an increase in loans of 18%, and was matched by a reorganisation to create further efficiencies, delivering a 26% increase in income per full time equivalent co-worker. A current account for personal customers was introduced in Germany, meeting Triodos’ bank-wide goal to offer a credible set of services. In Spain, the branch’s deposits exceeded its loans for the first time.
Despite strong competition in all savings markets, growth overall was up by 23% across the network. In Belgium, the branch focused on developing more meaningful relationships with personal customers, increasing deposits by 14% during the year. In The Netherlands the figure was 13%. In the UK, the branch combined strong growth in personal funds entrusted of 24% (GBP), with competitively priced products and a record increase in business banking funds entrusted of 22%.
Record growth in Spain, including an increased contribution to the Group’s profit, based on a relationship banking proposition and a high media visibility. A network of offices grew with a new office in Murcia, a new commercial office in Las Rozas, and expansion in the Barcelona office and the head office in Madrid.
Lending continued to grow and diversify in most branches. In Belgium borrowing increased most in energy and climate, care for the elderly, education and social sectors. In The Netherlands loans, which increased by 11% , included finance to transform listed industrial buildings into sustainable buildings, breathing new life into neglected neighbourhoods.
While in the UK loans of £62m were agreed, reflecting strong growth despite challenges including Government policy changes which affected funding for some customers delivering services to the public sector. The branch continued to expand lending to existing sectors and to finance new ones, including elderly care, sustainable tourism and activities for people with disabilities.
The Spanish branch deepened its sectoral and sustainable activity knowledge, and kept bad debt levels low, leading to net growth of 22%. The lending portfolio also diversified sectorally and geographically thanks to an office network, which brings Triodos Bank closer to its customers and ahead of real needs and difficulties within our sectors. Activity increased in the social sector to meet the country’s most pressing needs and prioritising the quality of loans over volume.
While 2012 was a year of opportunity for some sustainable entrepreneurs, the businesses Triodos Bank finances are not immune from the impact of the financial crisis. Provisions for losses on loans to biomass projects in the Netherlands in particular, where the industry’s technology is not yet mature enough, continued to be relatively high in 2012. Almost all of the provisions for these loans were taken in 2012.