European Answers to the Financial Crisis: Social Banking and Social Finance

As a result of the crisis, social banking and social finance have become important trends among bank customers in Europe. In fact, European social banks are the big winners of the crisis, growing by more than 20% per year and doubling their assets between 2007 and 2010. The crisis transformed social banks from niche institutions to large, publicly visible players. This success is due to the conviction of a growing number of bank customers in Europe that social banking is a less speculative and more responsible, ethical, and community-oriented way to deal with money than traditional banking. In the aftermath of the crisis, many see social banking as less egoistic and more caring for the overall progress of society than mainstream banking. Thus, social banking may provide important lessons for the banking and finance sector as a whole, in order to avoid further crises in the future.