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MD Charles Middleton's New Year Wishes
On the threshold of a New Year, it always feels like a good time to look ahead and think about what the year may bring us. But first a few reflections on 2013.
It has been a year of steady growth for Triodos Bank despite the economic difficulties in Europe. The number of people opting for positive, sustainable change and choosing to manage their money in a more conscious way gets larger every day with customer numbers across the group growing by 40,000 in the first six month of the year.
In the UK we have continued to lend to more exciting and impactful projects across all the sectors we work in supported by strong growth in savings, the money you trust us with.
"I look forward to 2014 being a year in which we see the much needed changes in the financial services industry really coming through."
MD Charles Middleton
We have introduced several new products to our savings range and added retail funds which provided the option of a Triodos equity ISA for the first time. There have also been several direct investment opportunities such as the bond issues for Golden Lane Housing and Avante which have provided another option on how to use money in a consciously positive way.
Reflecting more generally on the banking world in 2013, it has continued to be dominated by scandals such as LIBOR and Foreign Exchange fixing, inappropriate remuneration schemes and more mis-selling issues. There is a lot of work going on to set up new frameworks and regulatory practices to protect customers and make banks stronger and less likely to default at huge cost to all of us but it seems we have some way to go before fundamental trust in bank is restored to any sort of acceptable level.
So back to looking forward and the hope that some of the more positive signs for the UK economy will continue to move in the right direction. Even if this does happen, many of the communities and individuals that are supported by the projects that we lend to will still need that support. Perhaps even more so as the Government tries to find more ways to reduce public spending and we in turn try to develop more innovative ways to mobilise money in a positively conscious way.
The reaction to the banking scandals and the unfortunate problems at the Coop Bank have demonstrated very clearly the hunger that people have for a banking system that is founded on trust and genuine values rather than greed and "socially useless" activity. I look forward to 2014 being a year in which we see those changes that are needed in the financial services industry really coming through and you can be sure that Triodos will be working hard to make sure that is the case. Both in what we do and how we do it.
I hope you have a great 2014 and thank you for all your support which makes it possible for us to help money make a difference.