Meet the B Corps #10 Cultura Bank
For the ninth edition of Meet the B Corps, B Lab Europe interviewed Lars Hektoen, Special Advisor at Cultura Bank. Lars told us a little bit more about the impact the B Corp Certification has had on the company and the kind of Change StreetWize seeks to achieve.
Tell us a bit about the history of your company:
The bank was established in the mid-1980-ies as a savings and loan cooperative. In 1996 the bank obtained a full banking license as a savings bank. The bank’s bylaws state that the main objective of the bank is to lend to projects that stimulate a potential social and environmental development. The bank has grown steadily through the years but is still among the smaller saving bank in the country.
Why did you become a B Corp?
We learnt about the B Corp certification through the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, GABV where some fellow member banks already were certified (Like Newresourcebank). GABV also developed a rating system for the member banks, a scorecard which is updated on an annual basis. The B Corp certification is complementary and valuable because we obtain an independent and recognised rating on our impact.
What difference has becoming a Certified B Corp made for Cultura Bank?
It gives confidence that we are on the right track as a company. We need corrective input from the outside. We proudly use the B Corp label in our marketing.
What does the year ahead hold in store for your company?
The bank has completed 2 years with heavy investments and transition to a new core banking system. Continued strong growth and increased capital requirements are challenges pertaining to all banks as well as keeping up with customers’ demands for excellent service. We are actively looking at new ways to define our role as a bank in order to live up to our ambitions of offering true alternatives to the mainstream economy. This may or may not include engagements in “time banking” as well as complimentary currencies for local communities. A new area for the bank will be looking at renewable energy financing, especially related to farms.
How does it feel to be the first Certified B Corp in Norway?
We are certainly proud to be the first Scandinavian bank and the first Norwegian company to be certified and we do hope it will inspire other companies to take the challenge and follow our journey.
How is Cultura Bank “Being the Change”?
Cultura has been representing a different way of looking at money and finance ever since its establishment. Insofar as our customers represent “The Change” we as a bank want to be part of this. By practicing full transparency we aim to proof that we walk the talk.
Do you know that in most banks your money lives a secret double life? But there are some banks that are different. In a value based bank your money lives a double life you can be proud of. This short film tells you how your money lives in Cultura Bank.