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GLS Gemeinschaftsbank


The GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG was founded in 1974 to provide credit to companies and other initiatives with high social and environmental standards and objectives, as well as cultural initiatives. Loans are offered to projects such as independent schools and kindergartens, organic farms, institutions using therapeutic pedagogy, nursing homes, projects for the unemployed, health-food stores, communal living projects, and sustainable businesses. Companies that are active in nuclear energy, arms, alcohol or that disrespect human rights (to name a few) are excluded from credit.


When opening new accounts, savers can determine in which sector they want their money to be invested: for example in organic farming, renewable energy or education. Transparency is one of GLS Bank’s key aims: details of all initiatives that have obtained credit through GLS Bank are published in its magazine “Bankspiegel”. GLS Bank further publishes information about its development and cost structures.


The bank is part of the German "Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken" and is part of their guarantee system for the depositors’ money.

In May 2014, the GLS Bank had around 34,000 members and 175,000 customers. Its balance sheet totals over 3.4 billion euro. In 2012 the GLS Bank received the German Sustainability Award and in 2013 the international award “Sustainable Bank of the Year”. Furthermore the bank was chosen four times in a row as “Bank of the Year” by clients in a nationwide survey.


With a head office in Bochum, GLS Bank has branches in Berlin, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart.


Last update September 2014.


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Type of initiative Bank
Field of work Financial services
Date of commencement 1974
Founder(s) Wilhelm Ernst Barkhoff, Rolf Kerler, Albert Fink, Dr. Gisela Reuther
Legal form Genossenschaft (co-operative)
Continent Europe
Country Germany
City Bochum
One or several keywords that describe your initiative social-ecological banking, social banking, sustainable finance
Publications Der Bankspiegel (magazine)
More information

Contact person(s)

Christof LŁtzel, Head of Press Relations


Contact information

Name GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG
Address Postfach
Zip/postal code 44774
Place Bochum
State/province Germany
Phone +49 234 5797 100



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