In search of ethical banking

My husband and I care about where we put our cash and look for a well rounded bank – one that invests ethically and supports social enterprises, charities etc. While the service it offers and interest rate is important, just as important to us is how the bank operates from an ethical perspective. I don’t think we are alone in seeking this. So, a few years ago we started banking with Smile and the Co-Operative. They have provided us a with a very good service and we have no complaints. However, recently, there has been media coverage of the decision by the Co-Op to pull-out of the bank branch deal with Lloyds. This caused significant media commentary hinting “Does this mark the end of retail banking for the Co-Op?”.

Then my father-in-law (who used to work in banking before he retired early on  handsome sum….although less handsome thanks to Equitable Life), mentioned that we may need to consider banking elsewhere because “the Co-Op’s gilt bonds” (or something like that) “are not good”. “Why don’t you try HSBC?”. Pfft to that – don’t like HSBC’s significant profits and question where they go. However, HSBC’s former Chief is taking over the helm at the Co-op to help them out so hopefully this is just a minor wobble.

We also received an email from Smile to let us know where we stand on compensation claims. We asked ourselves “Why are they sending that to us now off the back of the media coverage?”. So we are tempted to hedge our bets and open up another account with an ethical bank and are currently researching the best one. These banks only invest money in like-minded green or ethical organisations (charities/ social enterprises/ community businesses etc). They don’t support companies that are in to animal testing; arms provision; fossil fuels etc. Hopefully the banking sector will sit up and listen to the growing trend of customers choosing banks for green and ethical reasons – check out the Move Your Money campaign for more info. Also check out The Guardian’s list of ethical banks here.

I am also making blogs more ethical by running this fundraising blog – I hope through each blog post to raise £1 for Unicef. If you are able to support the campaign please visit my page on Unicef’s site.

Thanks for reading.

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