"The GLS Bank was the first social and ecological bank in Germany. GLS stands for "Gemeinschaftsbank für Leihen und Schenken", which translates as "community bank for loans and gifts". The bank was founded in 1974 and it currently finances around 23,000 projects and businesses.
The Bank focuses on cultural, social and ecological projects which try to tackle challenges in our society by developing creative solutions. Loans are offered to projects like independent schools and kindergartens, organic farms, institutions using therapeutic pedagogy, nursing homes, projects for the unemployed, health-food stores and communal living projects, as well as sustainable businesses. Transparency is one of the main objectives of the GLS: details of all initiatives and companies that receive loans are published in its magazine "Bankspiegel", together with information on the development of the bank itself.
What distinguishes the GLS Bank is not only the fact that the GLS invest their savers’ money responsibly, but also that savers with the GLS can choose the area in which their money will be invested."