Gatehouse Bank is a Shariah compliant UK challenger bank offering ethical savings products and finance for UK residential and commercial real estate. Founded in 2007, the bank has been part of the UK private rented sector since 2014, with the aim to address the nation’s housing shortage. Gatehouse Bank has an ethical focus, providing transparent, fair and socially responsible products to those of all faiths, or none.
The bank formalized its sustainability commitments by becoming a founding signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking in 2019, where it joined 130 founding members from around the world in committing to aligning its business activity to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. As the world’s first sustainable banking framework, the UN Principles for Responsible Banking are focused on steering the financial sector toward responsible action, particularly regarding its impact on people and the planet.
For Gatehouse Bank, this has entailed formalizing its sustainability governance structure, establishing an initial roadmap to net zero, driving sustainable procurement, supporting local charities through volunteering and fundraising and developing a sustainability agenda in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As part of this, the bank has continued to innovate in the provision and distribution of Shariah compliant financial solutions with an ethical focus.
The bank’s savings proposition is underpinned by its Woodland Saver fixed term and cash individual savings accounts, which support the creation of new woodlands in the UK. For every Woodland Saver account opened or renewed, Gatehouse Bank plants a tree on behalf of its customers in a certified UK woodland project, planting over 30,000 trees to date. Over time, these trees will contribute toward combating the negative effects of climate change and environmental degradation, boosting biodiversity; reducing air, water and soil pollution; mitigating floods; and growing green spaces across the UK.
These accounts have proven popular among Gatehouse Bank’s savings customers, where 87% of customers gave a score of 5/10 or higher when ranking the importance of tree-planting in their decision to choose Gatehouse Bank as their savings provider.
In 2022, Gatehouse Bank launched a green home finance product range for UK residents, which was extended in 2023 to also cover UK expats and international residents. As the first Shariah compliant products of their kind in the UK, Gatehouse Bank’s green home finance options offer customers reduced monthly payments when purchasing or refinancing a property with an EPC [Energy Performance Certificate] rating of ‘A’ or ‘B’. The bank will also offset the carbon emissions generated by the average UK property for the initial two or five-year fixed term, and for as long as the customer remains with the bank with a qualifying property.
Gatehouse Bank’s strong product proposition and ethical focus were recognized by Islamic Finance news (IFN) in the 2022 IFN Best Banks Poll, where Gatehouse Bank was named the ‘Best Islamic Bank in the UK’ and ‘Most Innovative Bank in the UK’. IFN noted that the UK is widely recognized as a western hub for Islamic finance, commending Gatehouse Bank for continuing to play a vital role in this landscape despite economic headwinds over the last year.
Looking toward the future, Gatehouse Bank aims to continue expanding its ethical savings and home finance propositions as well as advancing its digitalization strategy, particularly through its savings app.