The Co-operative Bank

The Co-operative Bank

The Co-operative is often seen as ‘the original ethical bank’, and not without reason. It was the first UK bank to introduce an Ethical Policy back in 1992, which blocks investments in key ‘unethical’ areas such as weapons manufacture and fossil fuel financing. The bank’s own customers decide which investments are screened, and to date the Co-operative has turned away over £1.2bn of lending because the applications fell foul of its ethical policy.

The bank’s majority ownership by hedge funds (since October 2013) has placed question marks over the sustainability of the Co-op’s ethical lending approach, as have a number of serious difficulties that the bank has experienced over the past couple of years.

Yet today the bank’s ethical policy in enshrined in its constitution for the first time in its history, whilst the bank still retains a strong high street presence to rival the Big 5 banks. With these important distinctions and an MYM switch score that still far outshines any of the Big 5, the Co-op’s days as a recommended ethical bank are far from over.

To find out more about our MYM Score and how we rate the banks & building societies, click here

Case Study:

Wessex Archaeology

We have enjoyed a longstanding relationship with the Co-operative Bank’s Charity and Social Enterprise team and the real test of this relationship came at the height of the recession in August 2011 when for the first time we required an overdraft facility. The outcome of the Bank’s support is that over 200 jobs were secured and we were able to rebuild our balance sheet as our specific market sector improved.

For a Charity, with limited access to credit and no shareholders, the Co-operative Bank’s Charity and Social Enterprise team is a vital tool and we use on a regular basis. As a public benefit charity with education at the core of everything we do, being able to talk with like-minded bankers is important.