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GLS Bank (full name GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG) is a German ethical bank that was founded in 1974 as an anthroposophical initiative by Wilhelm Ernst Barkhoff and Gisela Reuther. It was the first bank in Germany that operated with an ethical philosophy.[1] According to GLS Bank, its focus is on cultural, social and ecological initiatives, initiated by people, and not anonymous interests seeking capital or maximum profit. The name stands for Gemeinschaftsbank für Leihen und Schenken which translates as Community bank for loaning and giving. With the main focus on cultural, social and environmental ventures, GLS tries to deal with challenges in the society by developing creative solutions.[2]

GLS Bank
IndustryFinancial services
HeadquartersBochum, Germany
Key people
Thomas Jorberg, President
ProductsSustainable banking
AUM 4.1 billion (2016)
Number of employees
514 (2017)
The head office of the German GLS Bank in Bochum, Germany

The bank is based in Bochum, Germany and is a co-operative. As of November 2006, the bank's total balance was EUR 645 million.[1] As of 31 December 2008, the balance sheet total was EUR 1,013 million, further rising to EUR 1,847 million as of 31 December 2010.

In 2015, the bank received the first German Award for Excellence from the Deutschen Gesellschaft für Zertifizierung (German Certification Group).[3][4] The award was granted to honor the bank's fair business practices.

In December 2016 at the annual general assembly, about 80% of the 1200 people present at the assembly decided to introduce the GLS Beitrag.[5][6][7]


In 2010, the bank acquired over 18,000 new customers and in February 2011 GLS announced a growth of 37 per cent, the largest in the bank's history.[8] As of December 2016 the Genossenschaft (co-operative) has 46.313 members,[9] compared to December 2015 with 41.982 members[9] this is a growth of 10.3%.[9]


  1. ^ a b GLS Gemeinschaftsbank, summary by International Association of Investors in the Social Economy, December 2006. For summary report enter 'GLS' in search box
  2. ^ "GLS Bank: A brief portrait - GLS Bank". 2011. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ GLS Bank für vorbildliche Geschäftspolitik ausgezeichnet, Umwelt-Kompass
  4. ^ Erstmals verliehener „German Award for Excellence“ geht an GLS-Bank
  5. ^ GLS Beitrag: Im Neuland, GLS Blog
  6. ^,
  7. ^ "Gebühr ohne Schrecken". Handelsblatt. 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  8. ^ "GLS Bank with 37 percent record growth". 2011. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ a b c GLS Bank, Zahlen & Fakten

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Coordinates: 51°28′15″N 7°13′11″E / 51.47081°N 7.21981°E / 51.47081; 7.21981