Catalina von Hildebrand, Paris Pledge campaign coordinator, BankTrack. Tel: 0031 654942649; Email: email@example.com
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With three months to go before the start of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP 21), six banks have become the first to sign the Paris Pledge to avoid financing the coal industry, including coal mining and power.
The banks are ASN Bank from the Netherlands; Banco Fie from Bolivia; Ekobanken from Sweden; New Resource Bank from California; and Ethikbank and Umweltbank from Germany.  All have confirmed to BankTrack their commitment to "continue to avoid financing coal mining and coal power, and to support the financing of renewable energy and energy efficiency." 
These banks, which already avoid financing coal mining and power, are the first to respond to the call from more than 100 organisations and over 1100 individuals from around the world, all of whom have given their support to the Paris Pledge campaign since its launch in July.
The Paris Pledge campaign is aimed at ending the multi-billion dollar coal financing of the world's private banks, and is backed by leaders of the fossil fuel divestment movement including 350.org and its founder Bill McKibben, as well as urgewald, Friends of the Earth France, Greenpeace International and Rainforest Action Network.
Catalina von Hildebrand, BankTrack's Paris Pledge campaign coordinator, commented:
"Bravo to ASN, Banco Fie, Ekobanken, Ethikbank, New Resource Bank and Umweltbank for committing to finance the vital transition to low-carbon energy. The only way for any bank to genuinely do this is to say goodbye to coal and other fossil fuel investments for good. These banks are sending a strong message ahead of COP 21 that bank portfolios need to be rapidly scrubbed clean of all fossil fuel financing, and we encourage others to join them.
"But of course the much greater challenge is to the large multinational banks who are the major bankers of the coal industry, providing a vital life-line to the dirtiest of the fossil fuels. We're inviting these banks to show they also recognise the urgent challenges of climate change, and sign up to the Pledge by committing to produce a phase-out plan for their coal finance."
BankTrack is calling upon all private sector banks to do the Paris Pledge, including 91 of the world's heaviest coal financiers. 
Notes for editors
1. ASN Bank (www.asnbank.nl) is an independently operating subsidiary of the Dutch SNS Reaal Group, founded in 1960.
Banco Fie (Banco para el Fomento a las Iniciativas Económicas, www.bancofie.com.bo) is a Bolivian bank for micro and small enterprises, founded in 1985.
Ekobanken (www.ekobanken.se) is a Swedish member-owned co-operative bank founded in 1996.
Ethikbank (http://www.ethikbank.de) is a German ethical and ecological bank, founded in 2002 as a branch of Volksbank Eisenberg.
New Resource Bank (www.newresourcebank.com) is a San Francisco, California-based bank founded in 2006 with a mission to advance sustainability on every level.
Umweltbank (www.umweltbank.de) is a German ecological bank founded in 1994 to finance environmental projects.
2. The Paris Pledge website contains the Paris Pledge text for banks, see: http://dotheparispledge.org/
3. BankTrack's current rankings of the world's top coal financing banks is available at: http://coalbanks.org/bank