For many, 2011 has been a year of deepening economic crisis. From the Greek bail-out to the fate of the Euro, all the global financial system’s warning lights are red. But while politicians and press focus on the Euro, the real crisis is one of debt.
We are heavily over-indebted; as countries, businesses and individuals. Banks have created colossal debt and have leveraged their capital base far too much, exposing themselves to unreasonable levels of risk. Central banks have lowered interest rates so even more debt can be created, enabling people to consume more, maintaining the holy grail of economic growth and depending on the markets to solve the problem.
Over the last three years, Governments used trillions to save the ailing financial system. But there has been less money than ever to combat poverty, to transition to a low carbon economy, and to finance small businesses; all the things we really need. The necessary resources are available. The required political will is not.
Credible new approaches, and new ways of thinking, are needed more urgently now than ever. All of which means Triodos Bank, and our customers and partners, have an important role to play. We won’t achieve this on the basis of how big we become, but as a reference point for others; demonstrating that things can be done differently.
Banks are far too important to leave to the bankers. We want to promote the notion that ‘everyone is a banker’; that we all have responsibilities and the capacity to influence the impact of our money on the people and environment around us. Triodos Bank cannot embed this in society alone, but we can be a catalyst for far-reaching change.