Banking or Philanthropy? Struggling with Mixed Logics in Savings Banks and Corporate Foundations

Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentationForedrag og mundtlige bidrag


When is a corporate foundation working for the common good and when is it acting in the interest of its founder? And is it even possible to distinguish? In a historical case study, I investigate the demutualization of Danish savings banks and the savings bank foundations formed as part of the process. Endowed with the accumulated profit these foundations were born as big shareholders in the demutualised savings banks and had as main objective to ensure the capital basis for growth. At the same time, some of them were given a secondary purpose of working for the common good. I follow how the foundations developed in opposite directions in their struggle to solve an inbuilt tension between the logic of banking and the logic of philanthropy. Some became big grant-making foundations with only weak ties to the bank. Others became misused tools of risky banking practices adding to the depth of the financial crisis in 2008. Despite the different outcomes, the foundations had surprisingly similar ideas about supporting local communities and creating ‘good lives’ and similar problems of balancing between working for the common good and creating goodwill and in other ways supporting the bank. The project adds to the literature on changes in banking in the era of neoliberalism, demutualization processes and CSR/corporate philanthropy.
Periode20 okt. 2023
Sted for afholdelseNorthumbria University, Storbritannien