EaSI Technical Assistance Study Visit to GLS Bank – Learning from a Successful Social Banking Model

The European Union is offering a two-day study visit under the EaSI Technical Assistance programme to selected European microfinance institutions (MFIs) from Serbia, Albania and Bulgaria.

They will visit GLS Bank, a German ethical bank that was founded in 1974 as the first bank in Germany that operated with an ethical philosophy. The visit will take place in the headquarters of the hosting organisation in Bochum, Germany on 2-3 December 2019.


The main objective of the study visit is to familiarise the interested MFIs with the social banking model and learn about the legal and regulatory prerequisites to become a social bank. In addition, the participants will be introduced to the different compliance issues for a social bank in the legal and regulatory environment, especially where there are no specific social banking provisions. Moreover, the visit will offer insights into GLS’ internal procedures and their position as a social banking institution.

The participating institutions will also learn about the GLS products and services – in particular the GLS financing of social enterprises.

The event organisers expect to welcome participants from microfinance institutions in SerbiaAlbania and Bulgaria that are considering a social and cooperative banking model and are interested in learning from a successful organisation.


GLS Bank is a co-operative whose focus is on cultural, social and environmental ventures. In 2018, GLS Bank has given customer loans amounting to EUR 3 353 million to 52 200 customers. The bank pays attention to sustainability aspects in all its operations and investments.

European microfinance providers, either selected as EaSI Technical Assistance beneficiaries or interested in applying for the programme can contact the EaSI Technical Assistance secretariat to receive more information about this event, as well as to request the participation in or organisation of similar events.