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February 3, 2009

Co-op bank forges ahead on ethical stance

by Gill Montia

Story link: Co-op bank forges ahead on ethical stance

Ethical principles have cost the Co-operative Bank a potential £1 billion in lost business over the past 15 years.

However, clients turned away because of practices the bank considers to be unethical have been replaced by a flood of individual savers, with deposits increasing by 40% between 2007 and 2008.

In addition, the banking crisis and the Co-op’s ethical stance have led to a rise in the amount deposited in current account, with balances up by 65% over the course of past year.

Commercial lending has also risen steadily, to £4.4 billion last year compared with £571 million in 1992.

The bank’s chief executive, David Anderson, describes the mutual’s ethical policy as having stood the business in good stead.

In a recent example, Bob Dylan has agreed to allow the Co-operative Group to make use of one of his songs in its advertisements, apparently because of the company’s impressive ethical track record.

In the spirit of a mutual business, the bank has recently developed a new ethical policy in consultation with its members.

Potential customers likely to be shown the door include biofuel companies that have a particularly high global warming capacity and organisations that exploit the Great Apes.


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