The Co-operative Bank’s latest mailing

Co-op Bank Sol

It has been saddening to hear from friends who have left the Co-operative Bank and from organisations who have switched their account. They did not think the ethical standards could be maintained and individuals find Triodos offers an acceptable alternative.

Perhaps, like John Harris, they also thought that “despite assurances that the Co-op group will now be “embedding … co-operative principles in the constitution of the bank”, things already look very messy indeed. How does anybody build anything remotely co-operative into a business now majority owned by standard-issue investment companies?”

Today, the bank’s customers received a letter about their new Ethical Policy:

co-op ethical policy“As we rebuild the Bank, we have continued to apply our Ethical Policy to how we run the business. We remain the only bank on the high street with a clear customer led ethical policy which gives customers a say in how their money is used. Adherence to co-operative values and ethics is now written into the constitution of the Bank to ensure that this vital aspect of our heritage is maintained”.

The views of over 74,000 customers have formed the basis of the new Ethical Policy. The survey found that in 2014 they continue to care about the major issues being debated in the world today, but also want the bank’s policy to address some issues closer to home.


co-op ethical policy noticeSome undertakings:

We will not provide banking services to any business, organisation or government that:

  • Fails to uphold basic human rights within its sphere of influence.
  • Manufactures or transfers indiscriminate weapons (e.g. cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions), torture equipment or other equipment that is used in the violation of human rights, or armaments supplied to oppressive regimes.
  • Has links to an oppressive regime that are a continuing cause for concern.
  • Advocates discrimination and incitement to hatred.

We will not provide banking services to any business or organisation:

  • That takes an irresponsible approach to the payment of tax in the UK and elsewhere.
  • Whose core business focuses on irresponsible gambling as defined by relevant legislation.
  • Whose core business is the provision of payday loans.

We will not provide banking services to any business or organisation whose core activity contributes to:

  • Global climate change, via the extraction or production of fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas and shale gas), with an extension to the distribution of those fuels that have a higher global warming impact (e.g. tar sands and certain biofuels).
  • The manufacture of chemicals that are persistent in the environment, bio-accumulative in nature or linked to long term health concerns.

To continue reading, click on this link.

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1 Response to The Co-operative Bank’s latest mailing

  1. Alex Ryder says:

    The trouble is that this new policy means whatever the board wants it to mean. The way it was polled was entirely about that result: why else would you ask for 7 preferences out of about 13 choices? They knew it would lead to an even split of results leaving the choice with the board.

    The result is a mishmash of vague aspirations. It’s full of weasel verbs like “try” and “endeavour” rather than strong statements like “will” and “ensure”.

    The Co-op Bank is no longer a co-operative organisation. I closed my account with them yesterday.

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