Guide to Ethical Banking – Part 3

Guide to Ethical Banking – Part 3

This is Part 3 of the IntelligentHQ Guide to Ethical Banking.  This three-part series explores the history of ethical banking, some of the concepts behind it and gives some examples of banks considered to be ethical banks .

Ethical banking is becoming more and more important to consumers. As seen in Part 2 of our ethical banking series, according to a Scorecard prepared by the Move Your Money organisation, anyone with money in a major high street bank may want to consider moving their money somewhere else if they do not want to support businesses that are less ethical. Here we examine three of the options that consumers can turn to instead of the traditional retail bank, which are Charity Bank, the Co-operative Bank and New Resource Bank.

Charity Bank

Turning first to Charity Bank, this financial institution has a strapline of:

 “A different bank for people who want a different world.”

The bank provides loans and support to charities, social enterprises and community organisations. When you put your savings into Charity Bank accounts this has a direct impact on the ability of the bank to help charities. The bank also offers an ethical ISA, which offers a competitive return but at the same time supports charities and social enterprises. What sets Charity Bank aside from other options for storing your money is that this organisation specifically seeks to improve society and enrich it through lending to charities. Savers benefit from a fair rate of interest at the same time. Charities and social enterprises also benefit, and they are able to get access to flexible loans as well as specialist support to meet their specific needs.

The bank’s vision is inspiring and revolves around the idea that social purpose organisations should be able to access the money they need to benefit society as a whole. The bank exerts integrity in carrying out its business, and has passion for what it aims to achieve, all the while keeping customers’ best interests at heart. As the organisation puts it: “This is not just a different kind of banking. It is banking that makes a real difference.”

The Co-operative Bank

Another option available to consumers is the Co-operative Bank. As you might expect with a name like that the Co-operative Bank is built on co-operative values and ethics. The organisation is of the firm belief that its ethical decisions can change the world, and not just local communities where it operates.

The Co-operative Bank has been around for more than 100 years, and was founded in 1872. It was born out of a desire of the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers to build a better society.

The bank offers ethical products and services that are built on its values. It additionally has an ethical policy regarding who it provides services to. As it points out, it was one of the first organisations to support international action against landmines and actually being a genuine part of the campaign for change.

At the current time there is a fairly compelling reason for switching to the bank. If you switch to the Co-operative Bank you will get £100 in your account, and additionally £25 will be given to charity. There are some qualifying factors – you do have to use the account. It has to have two direct debits at a minimum within 31 days of the switch, and £800 must have been paid in over the same timeframe.

New Resource Bank

If the first two options do not appeal to you, then how about considering the New Resource Bank? The New Resource Bank is a bank that desires a more sustainable world. It claims to have an entrepreneurial spirit and a dedication to do environmental and social good at the same time as delivering financial returns. The bank was founded in 2006 with a vision that revolved around:

“Bringing new resources to sustainable businesses and ultimately creating more sustainable communities.”

This was a popular idea at the time and as reported by the bank, it’s initial stock offering was 60% oversubscribed. The bank has an ethos of rethinking, rebuilding and renewing. Sustainability is promoted at the bank by working to reduce its environmental footprint, contributing to its community and educating and connecting customers.

It has been certified as a Green Business in San Francisco, and has won awards for its efforts in this area. The bank has attracted a wide range of non-profit organisations through its doors already, including Amazon Watch, the Alliance for Climate Protection, Baykeeper, Carrotmob and City CarShare.

Guide to Ethical Banking – Part 1
Guide to Ethical Banking – Part 2