“Because 11Onze can do it”. INTERVIEW: Laura Carlús, one of the 148 founding investors at 11Onze
“I would never have thought that a bank could fit so well with my values” Laura Carlús is an educator and works as a consultant and administrative manager. She admits that she has never been interested in banks because of their involvement in war conflicts and lack of empathy for their customers. In 11Onze, Carlús has found a project that fits her expectations about the values that a bank should represent today. She is one of the 148 main sponsors behind 11Onze.
What is the reason that led you to become one of the driving forces behind 11Onze?
With 11Onze I had a really incidental encounter, a kind of unexpected attraction. In a way, I felt very identified with the ethical values that this new bank contemplates. It’s true that I’ve never been interested in banks, mainly because they defend interests that I don’t agree with. Somehow, 11Onze has managed to reach a very emotional part of me and has reminded me of the bad treatment I have received from other banks. I am surprised at the possibility of finding a bank that fits my interests and that also bets on a powerful country; it is very exciting, really. I would never have thought that a bank could fit so well with my values.
What are the values that have attracted you most to the 11Onze project?
Many, but perhaps I would highlight working ethically for social convictions and not to extract more money from people. I think it is important for today’s banks to make a social commitment to the environment and to carry out a different kind of management that can reach people. Moreover, it is essential that these projects help in creating a more equitable society, that they help those who want to set up new businesses or projects, but also those who just want to live in peace. It is also important that there is room for initiatives involved in the sustainability of the planet. It is not a utopian idea to create a business with values and soul.
Why do you think there is a need for a Catalan bank with these characteristics?
Simply because it can do it. It’s not that we need it right now, it’s that we have always needed it, so I welcome it! With the pandemic and the economic crisis we are very disillusioned; I feel that the population is very discouraged and demotivated. Young people don’t see their future clearly and this can be a window of opportunity. It would have been great to have it earlier, but now is also an ideal time.
And in this sense, do you think Catalonia can have a powerful bank capable of being competitive with other existing banks?
Of course it can. We are a small country in a big world. We have the main potential, which is our people. The self-esteem of the Catalans is very high, despite the fact that we have been ignored many times.
Given the current banking landscape and how 11Onze are starting this project, what do you think will be most surprising?
I suppose the speed with which everything has been set up. When things are clear, everything is more agile and that is exactly what has happened with 11Onze. The advantage of this new entirely Catalan project is that, unlike other banking institutions with very heavy structures, 11Onze presents a lighter model from scratch and with very clear management criteria so that we can easily reach wherever we want. And of course, what will also be very surprising is the non-involvement in wars and other contexts that require a certain level of ethics. There is no point in worrying about armed conflicts in Yemen if my bank finances its continuity.
Would you invite other people to join the community?
I have been doing so for a long time. When you believe that a project is good for you and your country, it comes naturally to talk about it with acquaintances or friends. When I explain it, I am often met with fear or mistrust, but perhaps if we opened our minds and really stopped to think for a moment about the purpose of everything we do or what motivates us to continue, we would find that it is really easy to join 11Onze. In fact, it doesn’t take any effort.
What strengths would you highlight about Laura Carlús as an educator?
My honesty and transparency despite finding myself in situations that force you to be a bit more politically correct. I am proud to be politically incorrect when I have to and to be passionate about what I do. I embrace change with all the joy it brings.