Monday, 17 June 2013

Should the Green Party bank with Co-op Bank?

Various component parts of the Green Party, and individual members, have tended to gravitate towards Triodos Bank or the Co-op Bank as THE ethical alternatives. But are they right?

A recent report by Ethical Consumer does not give the Co-op bank a good review on ethical issues. Their table of ethical current accounts puts Coventry, Cumberland and Leeds Building Societies joint top for ethical current accounts. The Coop Bank only comes 12th in that list easily overtaken by Nationwide, the last national High Street mutual, at 6th place.

Ethical Consumer still rates Co-op Bank as a ‘best buy’ on the grounds that is policy statement on ethics is far and away the best in the sector for clarity and ambition. Its low overall score is explained by its ‘being part of the Co-operative Group which – as a supermarket – is involved in animal farming and other activities which its banking competitors are not.’

However, if the supermarket aspect were removed, Ethical Consumer admits that the Co-op Bank’s score would still be only 13: below the top three and only just above Nationwide’s 12.5 score.

Moving to savings accounts Tonbridge based Charity Bank and the Ecology Building Society are joint first with Triodos close behind them. The Co-op Bank in a very poor 28th place whilst Nationwide is in joint 16th place in the rankings.

Perhaps Greens need to ask themselves if the Coop Bank still deserves their support.

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