“Our children and grandchildren deserve a sustainable bank for the whole of Belgium”

NewB has campaigned in recent years to convince as many Belgians as possible of an ethical and sustainable bank.

NewB must accept the savings hand of the vdk bank and the collaborators and voluntary ambassadors Koen de Visscher, Marc Bontemps and Rein van yesterday are convinced of this. “If the cooperatives join the vdk bank, a strong and sustainable bank will be on the horizon.”

‘Banchor for Good Change ‘: With this slogan, NewB went wild. The aim was to set sustainability and ethics as a reference in the Belgian banking scene.

After ten years of toil, NewB can say that it is not an easy ambition. This is because the co-op structure creates additional headwinds. After the failure of the capital increase demanded by the National Bank, things seemed tense, but with an offer from Ghent’s vdk bank to cooperate, this ambition began to explode.

green cover

The idea behind NewB took shape after the banking crisis of 2008. It couldn’t be because lessons weren’t learned from the disaster that brought our economy to the brink, right? However, the systemic banks, whose blind speculation was the source of the conflict, would have been paid billions if they respected the somewhat corrupt rules.

Basically, not much has changed in our financial system.

Basically, not much has changed in our financial system. Traditional banks have remained value-driven rather than value-driven. The sustainable promises in their opulent office windows are fringe decoration, and sometimes a green covering.

With the regularity of the hour, projects become known both at home and abroad and we don’t want to get involved in them. Take, for example, the illegal investments in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that support Israel’s apartheid policy. BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank shamelessly support the so-called settlement policy.

Or take deep green mutual funds. According to Dutch investigative journalism platform Investico, they’re doing something different than they promised by about half. Of the 838 European “dark green” funds examined, 388 appear to be investing in the fossil fuel industry and aviation, to the amount of €8.5 billion. Money from unsuspecting citizens goes to companies such as TotalEnergies, coal company RWE, easyJet and Lufthansa.

It can be different

Banks handle other people’s money. Our money should be rolling in the right direction.

As a client of a major bank, you are insufficiently aware of the perverse role your “bank” plays on the world stage and what cog you are in.

A strong and sustainable ethical player provides balance. Vdk and NewB bank prove with their score on bankwijzer.be that it is possible. With NewB, vdk bank can increase its impact. There is also Triodos, but unfortunately this bank only offers savings services to ordinary people in Belgium.

It’s hard to find self-cleaning capability in this segment. there beginners (the newcomers) and external pressure are necessary to turn the tide so that citizens have freedom of choice and can “vote with their money”.

common ground

As a client of a major bank, you are insufficiently aware of the perverse role your “bank” plays on the world stage and what cog you are in. Gradually we also come across in our comfort zone how this system works.

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Civil society organizations, youth movements and NGOs are finding it increasingly difficult to open a regular bank account or savings account. We hear that they are getting a message from “their” bank that their account will be closed. Without clarification, with a request to provide a number to which the balance can be transferred. Explanation: “a decision from above.”

This phenomenon threatens to become a serious problem. The only answer to that is to ensure that civil society and all conscious citizens have their own financial arm, the rationale behind NewB.

The story of NewB is thus linked to what the “Volksdepositokas” Bank started 96 years ago. If NewB operators cooperate with vdk bank, a strong and sustainable bank will emerge. With the bed spread by NewB, it can grow in Flanders, gain a foothold in Wallonia and Brussels, and even grow faster to become the Belgian reference for sustainable banking.

Quirky

Vdk’s history and Christian union background ensures that talk of green marketing will not be forthcoming. On the other hand, for large banks, ethical banking is not a condition of existence but rather an afterthought in a portfolio in which the pursuit of profit is the main goal.

It is a fact that vdk is not a citizens’ co-op. But she is stubborn and resisted all the siren songs to blend in with Bacob and Dexia. Its model does not push the boundaries of profitability and profitability. And its focus on the local and sustainable level meets the growing demand in the community. NewB can contribute to this.

The growing public expects the financial service provider to put its customers first again. we realize ourselves in vdk bank, where employees work without performance related fees, where at least 80% of deposits are converted into loans for the real economy; A bank that eschews flashy campaigns and focuses on personal service at its 62 branches.

growth potential

With NewB as banking agent, vdk bank has the potential to grow into a strong player.

As the youngest participant in the banking market for 65 (!) Years, NewB has fulfilled all the starting conditions after a long preparation. But the transition from dream to action was very difficult. For many, the lockdown has been difficult. Not many have yet taken the step from cooperative to bank customer.

As NewB we have not succeeded enough in articulating this urgency. Even less, we managed to hit the radar of many who share our goals, such as ambition and potential to become a ‘game changer’ in the Belgian banking scene (which by the way no longer has any real co-operative banks).

Vdk bank now presents itself from Ghent as the savior angel. The tide is favorable for getting more “volume” with NewB, which benefits the entire Belgian community. A sturdy sofa that can keep growing after 96 years of stubborn resistance. A private bank that did not survive on government support during the banking crisis. Ie “System Bank” do that?

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With NewB as banking agent, vdk bank has the potential to grow into a strong player. Vdk Bank has 135,000 customers in Flanders. With 20,000 bank customers and 100,000 other cooperatives, NewB is one of the largest social movements in Belgium (!), supported by 11 institutional investors and 350 civil society organizations small and very large. Soon they will be able to open a bank account and get loans.

NewB’s €40m additional capital round, which failed, was intended, among other things, to make this possible. Because of course it is to the detriment that NGOs, cooperatives, trade unions, the self-employed, small associations, not-for-profit organizations and government institutions feel the need to bank more sustainably, but are not yet able to do so in their cooperatives.

Establish values

Together, vdk bank and NewB can become the locomotive of the financial train to more and more new destinations.

As volunteer ambassadors for NewB, we want to help ensure that a combination of thirteen unique values ​​for our collaboration remains on the table during discussions with vdk bank. and to be structurally entrenched in the long term.

How could this be is still a question mark. But we are convinced that it will also be an added value for vdk bank in preserving and protecting the thirteen values ​​that formed the basis of NewB. Transparency, participation, sustainability, honesty, simplicity, austerity, inclusion, innovation, professionalism, integrity, integration, diversity and proximity: for us these are and will always be actions.

Together vdk bank and NewB can become the locomotive of the financial train to more and more new destinations: more investments in renewable energy, insulation, cleaner mobility, fairly produced food, social and sustainable living…

Our children and grandchildren deserve it.

Quinn de Fischer, Marc Bontemps and Reine Van Yesterday are collaborators and volunteer ambassadors for NewB.

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