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Tue, 15 Feb 2011

GLS Bank with 37 percent record growth

BOCHUM (NNA) – With record growth of 37 percent, the German social and ecological GLS Bank recorded the biggest growth in its history last year. The business volume of the GLS Group, comprising the bank, foundation and investment company, has now risen to 2.4bn euros.

“The model of the GLS Bank shows that sustainable banking with a holistic focus on people and their needs is possible and growing in importance,” board spokesman Thomas Jorberg said at a press conference in Bochum to present the annual results.

Over 18,200 new customers joined the bank in 2010. Increasing numbers of people saw the GLS Bank as their universal bank. “As the only social and ecological bank in Germany, we offer the full range of services from current accounts through meaningful financing and investments to foundation and donation products,” Jorberg added.

The bank currently has 91,000 customers. Staff numbers have risen steadily in the last twelve months from 77 to 313 employees.

Deposits had risen from 1,152m to 1,602m euros, finance director Andreas Neukirch said. That corresponded to even higher growth of 39 percent. There had also been strong development in loans: more than 7,300 loans with an overall volume of 372m euros had been issued.

In total, the GLS Bank thus financed 11,580 forward-looking projects in the ecological, social and housing construction fields with a volume of 877m euros.

In the microfinance area the GLS Bank also grew faster than planned and in September 2010 was awarded the Bank21 innovation prize. One thousand microcredits were to have been released in 2010. In fact the number grew to 1,750 microcredits with a volume of almost 10m euros, almost twice the original number. The German government commissioned the bank in 2009 to roll out the microcredit system across Germany.

Last year GLS also floated the FairWorldFonds fund with a number of partners. It is the first fund to take account of development policy criteria.

The board also expressed its pleasure at the many prizes and awards won by the bank in the past year, including “Bank of the Year 2010” and “Sustainable Social Entrepreneur 2010” from the German government’s Sustainability Council.

The GLS Bank also celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2011. The quasi foundation GLS Treuhand, which was established in 1961 and from which the GLS Bank emerged in 1974, will be 50 in June.

The GLS Bank is the first social and ecological universal bank in the world.

END/nna/ung/cva

Link:www.gls.de

Item: 110215-01EN Date: 15 February 2011

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