VILLUM FONDEN invests 20 million DKK in Merkur Cooperative Bank

With the investment of 20 million DKK from VILLUM FONDEN, Merkur Cooperative Bank will be able to expand their loans to a larger number of sustainable projects.

With the investment of 20 million DKK in newly issued share certificates, VILLUM FONDEN enables the Merkur Cooperative Bank to expand future loans with 120 million DKK to companies, entrepreneurs and organisations working within the fields of e.g. environment, ecology and social issues.

Lars Pehrson, CEO of Merkur Cooperative Bank confirms that the investment will make Merkur substantially stronger, as the investment will boost equity. The size of the equity is essential as to the balance between loans and deposits entrusted to the bank by its clients: “VILLUM FONDENs investment will bring us a large step forward in our ambition to be able to convert the large deposit revenues into sustainable and socially beneficial loans. 

At the same time, Lars Pehrson sees the investment by VILLUM FONDEN as a large appreciation of Merkur’s efforts during more than 30 years. Lars Pehrson elaborates: ”I am happy and proud, and I hope that the interest shown in our bank by VILLUM FONDEN will inspire others to take a closer look at Merkur Cooperative Bank, which is not only a sustainable investment partner, but also a profitable one”.

VILLUM FONDENs investment will bring us a large step forward in our ambition to be able to convert the large deposit revenues into sustainable and socially beneficial loans. 

Impact Investment

The term Impact Investment covers investments, which in addition to being financially profitable will create positive changes in society. Impact Investment has moved into focus, both in Denmark and in the rest of the world. During a number of years, Merkur Cooperative Bank has provided Impact Invest products to the Danish clientele.

VILLUM FONDEN sees the investment in Merkur Cooperative Bank as an Impact Investment, and the investment is part of an increased focus on Impact Investment generally.

VILLUM FONDENs reason to choose Merkur Cooperative Bank was that the investment would yield a reasonable return on investment and at the same time enable Merkur Cooperative Bank to increase their loans. Merkur focus their loans on projects within the fields of environment, ecology, education and social issues, and this creates a community of interest between VILLUM FONDEN and Merkur Cooperative Bank. CEO Lars Hansen from VILLUM FONDEN adds: “In addition to a reasonable return on investment, we hope that our investment will make it possible for Merkur Cooperative Bank to increase their loans activities to organisations and projects that – like VILLUM FONDENs other initiatives - will aim to contribute to a more sustainable future for all of us”

Per Skovsted, Chief Investment Officer of VILLUM FONDEN says:

”With this investment VILLUM FONDEN can benefit from the solid banking expertise of Merkur Cooperative Bank when choosing projects and activities; and thus Merkur Cooperative Bank can guarantee the financial viability”.

VILLUM FONDEN will be a shareholder like any other, and there will be no special privileges involved as to board representation, compared to other major shareholders.

Further information

Karl Johnsen, Press Officer – +45 6265 6704 /

Merkur Cooperative Bank

Merkur Cooperative Bank is primarily a client owned bank, using capital as a tool to create positive change in society. By VILLUM FONDENs investment, the basic capital of Merkur Cooperative Bank will exceed 300 million DKK. Merkur Cooperative Bank’s total balance amounts to 2700 million DKK.

Merkur Cooperative Bank is a co-founder of Global Alliance for Banking of Values – the international organisation for ethical and sustainable banking.


VILLUM FONDEN is a non-profit foundation that supports research in technical and natural sciences, as well as environmental, social and cultural projects in Denmark and abroad. In 2015, VILLUM FONDEN granted 608 million DKK to non-profit purposes. VILLUM FONDEN was established in 1971 by Villum Kann Rasmussen, an industrious Danish graduate engineer who invented the VELUX® skylight window and established the VKR Group of companies, in which VILLUM FONDEN is the majority shareholder.