Unity Trust Bank - currently celebrating its 'coming of age' - has notched up record profits and customer account balances for the the year to December 31,2004.
The bank has marked its 21st anniversary milestone with its highest profits of £ 4 . 3 million, up from £4.1 million in the previous year.
Dividends also hit a record level, rising from 7p per share to 7.5p, an increase of over seven per cent. This is the ninth successive year that dividends have increased.
The bank achieved asset growth, with an increase of 23.5 per cent in 2004 to £359 million at the end of the year. Retail deposits increased by £62 million to £321 million and those from the charities and other social economy customers increased by 19 per cent to £135 millon.
However, managing director Ian Sim said the bank was not principally profit driven.
"For 21 years, Unity has operated on a set of ideals as a socially responsible bank, committed to working in partnership with others to achieve a positive impact on the community," he said.
"Unity's coming of age has proved we were right to make a commitment to a different way of doing things. Our approach has meant we have been able to help a wide range of valuable organisations.
"These range from charities at the forefront of radical drug and alcohol misuse support to campaign organisations fighting to end child poverty and encouraging greater commitment to corporate social responsibility.
"Our focus on banking for charitable and voluntary organisations, credit unions and trades unions is at the heart of our strategy.
"One illustration of our commitment to the sector, is the role we are playing in the Government's Futurebuilders initiative, which aims to improve public-service delivery through long-term investment in the voluntary sector.
" Futurebuilders has recently been promised a £90 million boost in government funding, on top of the initial £125 million and we will be developing our supportive role in relation to this initiative in the months ahead.
"I expect the proportion of Unity Trust Bank's lending to charities and other third sector organisations to increase further in the future."
This trend is already evident as last year saw a large number of charities and social enterprises being supported with loans from Unity Trust Bank.
Executive director Jeremy Wagg, who represents Unity Trust on the Futurebuilders Board, said: "As a bank, we have been embraced by the third sector because we have the confidence to stand by our customers and look to the longer term.
"Finance is playing a key part in helping to secure the future of charities and voluntary organisations."
The bank's credit union development fund, set up to boost the ability of credit unions to overcome financial exclusion, distributed almost £34,000 to 37 credit unions in the year.