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A possibility to open a BancaEtica in Greece

16 January 2010 / 13:01:52  GRReporter
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The number of unemployed people in Greece is expected to reach 1 million and the forecasts for the expected economic growth in one year time are phantasmagoric. And while the wages of the “golden boys” reached amounts of dozens of billions in America for two years 7 million people lost their jobs. The astrologists say that this year everybody will have to take the responsibility of his life and the choices he makes.

The example of an alternative bank is the one of bank of Ethics in Italy, as it was presented by its president Fabio Salviato, because there is a complete transparency for its clients in relation to what happens to their money.

“BancaEtica does not want rich depositors, but depositors who are rich from inside. There could exist multiple little alternative worlds” says Teresa Corvino, chairman of the Italian association Bella Ciao at the presentation of the Italian BancaEtica, which she organized in Athens with the cooperation of the nongovernmental organization Fair Trade.

At the presentation spoke the journalist Stelios Kuloglu about “The world economy, poverty and social inequalities”, the associate professor in economics at the Pandio University Antigone Lyberaki presented the topic “Low credits and women” and the discussion was coordinated by the leading director of the non profit organization Acrion Aid in Greece Gerasimos Kouvaras.

In order to opnen a BancaEtica in Greece it is necessary to unite entrepreneurial people who will develop a business plan and offer it to the Bank of Greece. Of course available funds are needed in the amount of 10 million euro said Mr. Fabio Salviato. This fact made the audience feel uncomfortable. Among them were present representatives of nongovernmental organizations, journalists, academicians and many students who were hoping that BancaEtica will open a branch in Greece. About the problem how they gathered the funds to open the BancaEtica in Italy and how the bank is investing in wild ideas and what makes it different from other banks spoke Mr. Fabio Salviato – president of the bank, who came in Athens to tell the story of this interesting example of a bank in Italy.

“We find ourselves in a very new situation in which there are great ideas existing and little initiative is required. We have to give positive suggestions” said Stelious Kuloglu. He told about his documentary movie “The confession of an economic assassin” in which he tells about the mission of John Perkins who was making the third world countries take credits which they could not pay back later on. The optimistic part is that many people on this planet realized what is going on and the time of the great ideas has already passed, finished Mr. Kuloglu.

“The banking sector is collapsing in the poor countries and the reason for this is that they do not want to pay back their credits or just don’t have the money to do it” said Antigone Lyberaki. She gave the example of a bank in Bangladesh which was granting small credits to women and that is why it fell under the attacks of the fundamentalists and drug mafia bosses. It is important for the women who live in poor countries to be able to take small in size credits, which change their life completely, added Mrs. Liberaki.

BancaEtica is a public bank with no director, no godfathers and no parties to take part in it says its president Fabio Salviato, who was invited to talk about what makes BancaEtica different from the other banks.

Its creators are 22 legal entities – Italian syndicates, nongovernmental organizations and others of which a total of 8 million peoples are members. “It is of course true that we also didn’t have any money when we started. They we chose one men from each organization which we decided is appropriate. With these 22 students we walked around Italy for three years and we were issuing bonds of at least 100 euro in order to collect the capital. We were trying to inspire the people and to convince them that our idea is good.”

This is the only bank without a director without god fathers and parties. BancaEtica is not outside the banking system, but it is part of it, however it only cooperates with the commercial and people’s banks like itself answered Mr. Salviato to a question from the audience.

We have to find a new economic theory for the social economy which should rely on terms like social networks, solidarity, development of the concept of communities and lead to a unified civil society different than the one we live in currently said Mr. Salviato. In one introduction in the situation on the bank market he underlined that money which are floating between the banks like bonds are 14 times more than the worlds GDP which is 65 000 billion dollars for the past year.

“The value of the toxic bonds which the banks have declared is three times bigger than the one they actually have in disposal. This means that the twenty biggest banks are already in bankruptcy, however they manage to use these bonds at a greater value than their actual one through the mechanisms of the creative accounting. In the last six months these banks have taken a great amount of money, however this was not felt on the market because they buy these bonds among each other and that is how they managed to save themselves, however the result is the loss of the companies” said the president of the Italian BancaEtica.

On the last meeting of the G8 Federation of European Banks BancaEtica made several suggestions related to the change in the banking system among which are:

-   Banks should stay banks and put the money on the market, rather than just circulating it among themselves


-   All financial organizations to be under control


-   The existence of places known like “economic heaven” to be banned, because there money are being laundered and there is no transparency


-   To achieve maximum transparency for the clients of the banks as well as for the investors in order for them to be aware of what is going on with their money

- To be imposed the Tobin tax, according to which the banks take 1 euro for each 100 euro deal with the purpose of restricting the international speculation.

- The taxes on all commodities, which cause pollution of the environment to be increased

- Regulations concerning the salaries for the banks managers to be adopted

Mr. Salviato shared that the salary of the director of BancaEtica could exceed maximum five times the lowest salary. An interesting fact about the activity of BancaEtica is that it has invested in the creation of four cooperative associations for the production of oil, wine and cheese and it deals with financing wild business plans of young people giving them the opportunity to make their dreams come true.

 To the question of Mr. Kuloglu to list five things that makes BancaEtica different than the other banks Mr. Salviato shared:

- This is the only bank on which website you could see all of its operations because this is the important principle of transparency

- It is the only bank in the world which does not want 30% guarantee.

- The 70 groups by locations meets with the board of directors of the bank each year in order to discuss the projects which they are planning for the next year.

- When granting a credit it follows two procedures. One is typical procedure for every bank. The other is to give the client a questionnaire according to which it becomes informed about his social environment and only if he has a positive profile according to the questionnaire we grant the credit.

- It is the only bank which applies an interest of 2% for the entire Italy. The rest of the banks increase the interests with 2% - 3% for the southern provinces of the country

Tags: Economy Banca Etica
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