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The next steps


As a runner I´m lucky to live in Drenthe, which, unlike many other parts of the Netherlands, has been a sparsely populated rural area. Whichever direction I choose, my route always takes me through woods and meadows, along streams and fields, old farms or dolmens.


Along a path in the northwest of the Balloërveld, you’ll see a bench that offers a great view of the landscape and gives you the opportunity to rest and eat or drink a bit. The bench was placed there some years ago by clients of Triodos Bank in collaboration with the bank. Under certain conditions, clients of the bank were invited to place a bench at a location of their choice.


A lovely idea: hikers find a nice bench to have a rest in a beautiful place; clients of the bank do something nice with their savings and Triodos Bank presents itself with a sympathetic, green and sustainable action.


Triodos Bank was founded about 40 years ago and sought a totally new way to save, loan or give money and strived for an economy in which people work together and do this for each other. The bank began in a small circle, grew in the first decades of its existence quietly and gradually and developed over the last 15 years to a well-known bank with a sustainable and friendly image, offices in several European countries and a balance sheet with billions on it. Partly thanks to the malpractice in the financial world, the bank has grown significantly in recent years.


I've never rested on the little bench on the edge of the Balloërveld. I'll pass it regularly, but only when I´m running and runners do not rest on benches. They just run. And while running, they make their minds empty, get surprised by unexpected vistas or come up with new ideas. Always on the way to the next step.


What is actually the next step of Triodos Bank? - I was wondering the last time I passed the bench while running. New ways of dealing with money and concrete work on an economy of sharing and working together are still needed, maybe more than ever before. The practices of bankers plunged the world into a deep crisis. But the growth of Triodos Bank, however gratifying, has not yet led to fundamental changes. In terms of market share Triodos Bank is still a dwarf.


Is the policy of the bank focused on further growth and an increased market share? That would be a policy that the bank has in common with many other banks or companies. I hope that within Triodos Bank people are resolutely preparing new steps. Because leaders are overtaken and then fall back to the peloton. And those who are in the pack, give no direction.


What could be the next steps of a bank that really wants to change the practice of banking? I believe the following points could be useful to determine further steps:

● Why should I get a fee (interest) when I ask others (a bank) to manage my savings?

● Modern man is, whether he likes it or not, responsible for its entire doings. That's why I want a bank to work so transparently that I really can live up to that responsibility (because the bank cannot do it for me).

●  A capable entrepreneur with a viable plan based on specific needs of its potential users (customers) simply needs to have working capital. How can a bank in this sense ensure that potential entrepreneurship can be realized and not go to waste?

● What would be the function of a bank if every one of us would be financially ´literate´?


The bench on the Balloërveld is a nice surprise for hikers and nature lovers. I hope they´ll enjoy it. But the practice of banking allows us not to quietly sit back. Let's keep going!

John  |  2013 07 24  |  Permalink  |  Share


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