Belgian co-operative aims to establish an ethical bank

The co-operative needs to raise €30m through a share offer to secure the approval for a banking licence

A financial co-op in Bruxelles, Belgium, is working to set up a new co-operative bank.

The New B project started in 2009 in response to the financial crisis, when 24 organisations decided to join efforts to create an ethical banking alternative.

After years of research and awareness raising campaigns, NewB launched GoodPay – a prepaid card – in 2016. The card is biodegradable, donates 5 eurocents per payment to a charity of choice and maps the ecological footprint of payments.

NewB has already received authorisation from the Financial Services and Markets Authority. The co-operative now needs to raise €30m (£25.64m) through a share offer in order to secure the European Central Bank’s approval for a banking licence.

The fundraising campaign is open until 27 November. NewB currently has 52,500 individual members and 155 organisation members. Founding members include Greenpeace and Oxfam.

Among those investing in the bank is platform co-operative SmartBe, which has already pledged €200,000 (£170,951). A number of trade unions have also invested in the project.

By 13 November the co-op had raised €3.8m, more than 12% of its target. If everything goes according to plans, the new bank could be up and running by May next year.