20 January 2015
The Co-operative Bank has rewritten its ethical code, following a year of scandals in 2014 that eroded customer and investor trust.
The bank has pledged not to provide finance to payday lenders, gambling companies and those that do not pay tax in a responsible way.
The Co-op Bank’s ethical policy is based on the views of 74,000 customers and stakeholders. It is the bank’s first overhaul of the code in more than five years, since its last update in 2009. According to the bank, since implementing its first ethical policy in 1992, it has turned away £1.4 billion of business.
Niall Booker, Co-op Bank Chief Executive, said that the ethical policy was rewritten as part of rebuilding the bank and public trust, and that this is one important step in doing so.
A large majority, 80%, of the bank’s customers said that not lending customers’ money to businesses which go against our ethical concerns best demonstrates Co-op Bank’s ethical policy.
Peter Swabey, ICSA Policy and Research Director commented: ‘Notwithstanding its various difficulties over the past couple of years, it has always been the Co-op Bank’s USP that it operates to a different ethical agenda from other banks.
‘This has, in the past made it hostage to fortune, but whatever we may think about the individual metrics chosen, if they represent the wishes and values of its customers then this restatement of its ethical policy is an important and welcome step for the Co-op towards regaining their trust and that of the public.’
Laura Carstensen, chair of the Co-op Bank’s Values and Ethics Committee, said: ‘Major global issues still sit at the heart of what our customers care about, but they also want us to address issues closer to home. During a period of sustained austerity, it’s no surprise that customers have given greater weight to supporting economic and social development in the UK. Customers want us to support communities and businesses that improve the fabric of society.’