Shared Interest are a community benefit society which
acts co-operatively and the world's only 100% fair
trade lender. Our members share our vision of a world where justice
is at the heart of trade finance. We form the vital link between UK
social investors and fair trade organisations overseas needing
finance to improve their livelihoods.
Our UK based account holders invest anything between £100 and
£100,000. These funds are pooled and used to provide credit
services and low interest loans to fair trade farmers and artisans
in the developing world.
We provide a variety of financial options, from funds to assist
the organisation's cash flow which enable them to pre-finance
orders to longer term loans that allow businesses to grow and
develop, providing sustainable livelihoods for the producer groups
Shared Interest services at a glance:
Fair trade export credit
Finance in advance via fair trade buyers to fulfil orders
Commercial order export credit
Finance in advance to enable producers to meet orders from
commercial organisations such as supermarkets
Long term loans
Fixed term loans for equipment or the development of
Finance for buyers to enable them to make advance payments to
A Shared Interest account enables buyers in the developed world to
make payments for goods to a wide range of producers, even if they
themselves are not Shared Interest customers
We are the only lender in the world to focus exclusively on fair
trade. We also only work with businesses that are registered
members of FLO or WFTO and have audited financial
accounts over at least three years, making us different from
microfinance institutions. We aim to create a fairer world through
our work rather than earn big profits. We offer credit without
taking security because it is an insurmountable obstacle to many
fair trade businesses. We seek to share business risk with our
customers because by doing so we, together, make trade
We are not a microfinance organisation as we do not work with
start-up enterprises. All of the businesses we work with need to be
fair trade registered and show evidence of three years of audited
We lend on an unsecured basis knowing that many of our customers
either do not have any security to pledge, or have already used
their assets to secure conventional borrowing. We do charge
interest to our customers. This interest rate is based on the
risk attached to the individuals and is competitive in comparison
to loans available in country.
Topping up your Share Account is easy, use the form in your
Investor Pack to set up a standing order or use the Bank Giro
Credit slips also provided.
Don't forget to let us know if you need more slips, contact
membership on: 0191 233 9102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To set up a standing order with your bank all you need is our
bank account number 70062793 and sort code 089006. Don't forget to
use your ten digit account number as a reference.
You can make further investments into your account using a
cheque in two ways. You can take the Bank Giro Credit Slip at the
bottom of your statement along with your cheque to your bank.
Alternatively you can send cheques directly to our Newcastle
office. Cheques sent directly to us must have your ten digit
account number written on the back. All cheques should be made
payable to Shared Interest Society Ltd
If you have access to online banking you can transfer funds
directly to your Share Account. All you need is our bank account
number 70062793 and sort code 089006. Don't forget to use your ten
digit account number as a reference.
Making a withdrawal
You can withdraw any amount at any time, provided your account
contains sufficient funds. Notification in writing, signed by all
account holders must be received.
Last year we lent more than £40 million to fair trade
The money you put into a Share Account is an investment and you
can withdraw your funds. As with all investment products there is a
risk attached, however in our entire history, investor funds
have never been compromised.
Shared Interest is a Community Benefit Society which means that
we cannot be regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA)
and we are not a member of any investment protection schemes,
although we do follow best practice guidelines.
We do offer a return on investment; however, this isn't always
financial. Many of our investors are motivated by the social return
of having a Share Account and the positive impact their money has
across the globe. Our Board of Directors decide the amount of
interest paid. Our interest rate is usually 4% below the base
rate, and is currently 0.5%. However, this could be subject
to change following assessment at the end of our financial
The main risk associated with our lending is that loans may not
be repaid and our capital diminished. This could result in
investors not being able to get back the amount invested.
It is important to say that in our long history, this has never
happened. We typically only lend out up to 70% of our capital at
any one time. Our Board also applies very careful lending criteria
to seek to prevent major lending losses.
We have sustained lending losses over the years but these have
always been absorbed by surpluses that have been made.
Information on bad debts can be found in our annual Directors
Report and Accounts.
Shared Interest is an international organisation, our head
office is in Newcastle upon Tyne and we have offices in Kenya,
Peru, Costa Rica and Ghana.
The Shared Interest Secure Area is a major development for
Shared Interest following a growing demand for online services from
It is a dedicated online space for members and volunteers. It
provides a portal for members to view their Share Account details
and access messages and resources.
If an investor opts in, they will be able to do things like see
their Share Account balance as well as view and print statements
online. Volunteers will be able to share events as well as interact
with others using the map facility.
More information on the Secure Area is available via our Help Sheet, and
some guidance can be found here in our Terms of
Once inside the Secure Area, click on the Change Password
button; you will then be asked to type in your existing
All you need to do next is type in the new password you have
chosen. As you type your password into the box, you will see
a bar appear that tells you if your password is classed as strong
For security reasons, your new password should be at
least eight characters long and include at least one upper case
letter, one lower case letter, and one number.
An example of an acceptable password is: mitFord21. If your
password is classed as weak, then try adding some symbols and/or
numbers in there to make it stronger.
Bear in mind that you want this password to be memorable too, so
try and use a combination that you will be able to recall
You will be asked to confirm your password again the box below
before clicking 'Change Password' to complete the process.
Founded in 2004, Shared Interest Foundation is a
registered charity that provides practical support to businesses in
the developing world. This involves training that allows
individuals to create sustainable employment in the community.