How the world looked in 2013
Countries across Europe, as well as the leaders of the European Union itself, continued to wrestle with economic crises during 2013, with some signs of increased stability and recovery in the countries where Triodos Bank operates.
The wider banking sector continued to face a number of high-profile scandals, with further bank bail-outs and changes of ownership necessary in several European countries.
Against this backdrop all Triodos Bank’s branches continued to develop well, with many customers choosing to move their money to them in the wake of wider criticism of the banking sector and ever growing interest in more sustainable lifestyles. This meant increasing awareness of Triodos Bank as a ‘first bank’. This strategic goal has largely been met in the Dutch and Spanish markets and is being actively developed in the others.
While branches were able to grow the loan book, a much higher inflow of deposits continues to create a longer-term challenge to ensure effectively healthy balance between the two.
How we did
Becoming the First Bank for our Customers
Offering a full set of services to its personal and business customers, and increasing the volume of our transactions with them, is crucial for Triodos Bank to increase its impact and fulfill its mission. Sustainable mortgages were either introduced, or further developed, in Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands during the year to this end, encouraging homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
The Dutch branch is the first Dutch bank to offer a mortgage for sustainable homes. Its mortgage rewards increased energy efficiency in the home with a lower interest rate.
In Spain, in addition to a credit card, Point of Sale machines, online purchasing and the bank’s first Automatic Teller Machines were introduced to the market.
While in the UK, Triodos Investment Funds were offered for the first time to retail investors.
Triodos Bank innovated during the year by opening a special current account for children in The Netherlands.
Triodos Bank wants to grow its capital so it can continue to develop and expand its activities, particularly lending.
In 2013 a total of EUR 68 million in new capital was raised in The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and in the UK, attracting over 4,400 new depository receipt holders.
Building Meaningful Relationships
Developing and managing long-term relationships is also key to Triodos Bank’s strategy.
While winning awards does not drive its work, receiving a high-profile award for best customer service in The Netherlands for a second successive year was welcome evidence that these relationships are highly valued by clients and that our relationship banking model is working.
The Spanish branch opened five new offices during the year, moved to a more prominent location in Seville and expanded its head office in Madrid to provide better access to customers and to position itself for further development in the future.
Triodos Bank’s representative office in France continued to develop its activities in line with plans, but is not yet a fully-fledged branch.
Triodos Bank is the employer it aspires to be
Triodos Bank encourages co-workers to participate in a co-creative way.
To this end the UK branch launched an ‘Ambassador programme’ in 2013, enabling co-workers from around the bank to step outside their daily role and represent the bank at events and networking groups. Additional training and mentoring was provided to support the ambassadors’ development.
In Spain an annual meeting of all Spanish co-workers was organized over a weekend on the theme of “Reactivating the economy”, with a focus on lending activity. Separate retreats with the branch Board of Directors and around 50 managers to develop and act on workplan guidelines for 2014, also took place.
A co-worker’s conference is organised every year bringing a broad group of co-workers together. In 2013 it was hosted in Berlin in close cooperation between the head office and German branch. The German branch also established regular meetings of the management team (including one off-site meeting) to develop the branch’s strategy, execution plan and to explore issues such as the vision and mission of Triodos Bank.