‘The big traditional banks are outdated,’ said Auke Plantinga, associate professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Groningen last month in a speech during the presentation of the Lipper Fund Awards. ‘Banks will no longer exist in ten years’ time. At least no longer in the form in which we now know them. ‘
According to two Milieudefensie reports published today, both ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank invested almost EUR 5 billion between 2010 and 2018 in fourteen palm oil companies that are guilty of land grabbing, human rights violations and the deforestation of rainforest. “Banks have known what’s going on for more than fifteen years,” says Rolf Schipper of Milieudefensie, “yet they keep putting money into these dubious companies.”
Meanwhile, there are many alternatives to the regular banking system. Since the crisis of 2008, Dutch sustainable banks such as Triodos and ASN Bank have grown enormously, since they claim to be completely free from shady investments and environmentally harmful loans. Even so, these banks still lean too much against the old financial systems, says Ali Niknam, founder and CEO of bunq. ‘Banks are essentially nothing more than data shifters.’
Bunq, a mobile start-up with banking license that offers users a ‘clean’ alternative for traditional banks last week presented the short film Truth, Lies and Banking to ‘shake up the banking sector and people.’ The main role in the film is laid out for notorious British bank robber Jason Coghlan, who is sitting behind a management desk with a cigar in his mouth, explaining how consumers in the current banking system are hung out to dry unnoticed. Ali Niknam: “At bunq we believe in power to the people. The only way to awaken the banking world is to create awareness among the consumer – that is central to this process. All our innovations are dedicated to the user experience. With Bunq, your money is your money, we do not invest in dubious business and your privacy is not for sale. We wanted to make a film that starts the discussion about the current problems in the banking world. We also want to start a wider public debate by giving young artists a platform on which they can express their opinion.
Truth, Lies and Banking is part of a larger art project called The Art of Banking, a continuous series in which the critical opinion of young artists about the role of financial institutions and money is brought to the attention.
The first two art projects in the series are the films ‘Withdraw Yourself’ and ‘A Traditional Investment’. ‘Withdraw Yourself shows the work of tattoo artist Louis Loveless, in which he questions the position that the banking system occupies in our lives. In ‘A Traditional Investment’, international war reporter Robert King takes a critical look at what financial investments really cost us.
watch Truth, Lies and Banking here:
This post is also available in: Dutch