Mercury Provident

Mercury Provident was the first British ethical bank,[1] noted for its “Target Accounts” which allowed depositors to select a rate of interest and a field to invest in. It was founded in 1974 and merged with Triodos Bank in 1994.


Mercury Provident was founded in 1974 by Christian Nunhofer and others.[2] It was later constituted as a “licensed deposit-taking institution” under the Banking Act 1979.[3] Inspired by the anthroposophical thinking of Rudolf Steiner,[4] Mercury Provident aimed to raise awareness of the functions of money and financial lending in society.[5] It offered loans to enterprises it judged to be of social and environmental value, for example Steiner schools, organic farms,[6][7] wind farms and worker cooperatives.[8] Enterprises supported included Henry Doubleday Research Association and Weleda UK.[1]

Investment accounts

Investors deposited money into “Target Accounts”, which allowed them to choose projects they would like their deposit to support, and to select a fixed interest rate between zero and a maximum aligned with other market rates.[4][7] Many investors also bought “membership shares”, which were not traded on the Stock Exchange.[9] In 1991 a variable-rate deposit account was introduced, offering a rate only slightly below base rate.[6]

Merger with Triodos

In 1994 Mercury Provident, which then had assets of about £9 million, was taken over by the larger ethical bank Triodos of the Netherlands. The decision was reported as due to an increased burden of regulatory requirements.[8]


  1. ^ Jump up to:ab “Banking on People”, British Universities Film & Video Council
  2. ^Andrew Bibby, “Ethical bank updates its homespun style”, The Independent, 5 June 1993
  3. ^John Osmond (1986). Work in the Future: Alternatives to Unemployment. Thorsons Publishing Group. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-7225-1245-6.
  4. ^ Jump up to:ab James Lynch (1994). Banking and Finance: Managing the Moral Dimension. Gresham Books. p. 100. ISBN 1-85573-176-2.
  5. ^Christopher Schaefer; Tijno Voors (1996). Vision in Action: Working with Soul & Spirit in Small Organizations. SteinerBooks. pp. 134–5. ISBN 978-0-940262-74-4.
  6. ^ Jump up to:ab Alan Lewis; Karl-Erik Wärneryd (8 January 2002). Ethics and Economic Affairs. Routledge. p. 181. ISBN 978-1-134-86972-5.
  7. ^ Jump up to:ab New Statesman Society. 7. Statesman & Nation Publishing Company Limited. October 1994. p. 15.
  8. ^ Jump up to:ab Paul Gosling, “Ethical banks to merge”, The Independent, 30 January 1994
  9. ^The Ecologist. 18. Ecosystems Limited. 1988. p. 53.

Ofer Abarbanel online library

Ofer Abarbanel online library

Ofer Abarbanel online library