How often do we think of alternatives to the high street banks? I don’t or I didn’t. But all of the big five UK high street banks do not have the whitest of reputations when it comes to ethical behaviour. A list of their misdeeds is too long to go over here and anyway it would be too boring I suspect. But what about the mis-selling of mortgage protection schemes which has cost the banking sector tens of billions of pounds in compensation? That’s a good start.
The banks sneaked a clause into their mortgage agreements which allowed them to put a small premium on top of the mortgage repayments to cover an insurance policy which the client didn’t know they had taken out. The banks thought they were being clever but they weren’t. It has cost them £34 billion in compensation over years. I won’t go on about the unethical banks which probably includes all the mainstream high street banks at one time or the other although some might be more ethical than others. Just today, 22nd September, 2020, HSBC’s shares fell to their lowest point in 22 years after it was accused with other banks of allegedly moving billions of pounds worth of illicit funds despite suspicions about the origins of the money.
I want to mention the ethical ones which I’ve tracked down and may consider using myself.
Triodos must take a prominent position in this list. Their website tells me that they focus heavily on ethical issues. They lend to projects and enterprises which “make a positive impact on the world around you”. Their interest rates are not great but they are the same across the board more or less.
Charity bank is entirely owned by charitable foundations, trusts and social purpose organisations, to use their own words. They say that they were founded to support charities with loans that they couldn’t find elsewhere.
The Co-operative bank have a page on their values and ethics. I like that. They say they were born from the co-operative movement and they have co-operative values. They also say that they are driven by an ethical approach to banking and are the first UK high street bank to have an ethical policy based upon 320,000 customer responses since 1992.
The Ecology Building Society is a “green financier”. They claim that they are building a greener society. Money saved with them is used to help build a more sustainable future. They want to help improve the environment by supporting and promoting ecological building practices and sustainable communities.
These are the banks that I have selected because they declare confidently on their websites that they want to be ethical in their practices and want to invest in sustainability to protect the environment.
How many people consider using these banks? If you love cats you might love all animals as well. If you love all animals you probably love nature. If you love nature you probably want to protect it in the interests of today’s children and their children. And if you want to protect nature and have a bit of money that you need to save you might like to save it at one of these banks.