Bank customers opt for green over greed

Growing numbers of people are switching from  high-street firms to ethical alternatives

Fed up with profit-hungry, bonus-driven, rich bankers? You’re not alone. In fact, there is a growing movement for change in finance, led by a number of alternative companies which believe that we don’t have to accept the status quo

The organisations say they want to build sustainable finance businesses based on the notion that you can invest successfully and ethically without damaging the environment. Who are these new breed of “good” finance firms?

Let’s start with a look at the campaigning body Move Your Money, which encourages people to move their cash out of banks offering poor value, service, ethics and transparency to less well-known banking brands with genuine ethical and customer-focused values.

“We believe that people can change banking,” says a spokesman for Move Your Money. “Last year, 2.4 million people voted with their feet and switched their bank accounts, starting to create a momentum big enough to demand a banking system that is fairer, accountable, and responsive to needs and values of customers.”

Then there is the ethical investment crowd-funding platform Abundance Generation. It offers investors,even those with as little as £5, the chance to invest in community-scale renewable energy projects for relatively attractive returns of between 6 and 9 per cent, dependent on the project.

To date, nearly £6m has been invested and the rate of growth is accelerating. The co-founder, Bruce Davis, said: “We are spearheading a growing movement of people who know that investment can be a powerful win-win situation. Investors can get great returns from investments they can see and believe in. Meanwhile, the renewable energy sector enjoys a new source of finance to help it and the UK real economy grow.

“Putting the two together means we can all benefit from the contribution to the battle with climate change. Abundance is proof that great investment returns don’t have to borrow from the future.”

The Abundance Generation platform currently has three opportunities open for investors, including a £1m “Solar on Schools” project, a £730,000 solar farm in Kent and a £1.5m wind turbine in Cornwall. Another business which acts in similar ways to Abundance is the Trillion Fund.

What about ethical banks? The widely publicised financial problems at the ethically focused Co-operative Bank should not detract from the other growing organisations that are offering something radically different to those fed up with the actions of the high-street providers.

For instance, Triodos Bank has a range of savings and investments and plans to launch a current account. Huw Davies, who is head of personal banking at Triodos, says: “Many have a pension or stock market investments and do not realise that a proportion of a portfolio may be invested in those sectors we find personally distasteful. And if we are put off by investments in certain sectors, it is down to us all to look underneath the bonnet of our investments to ensure we are happy with how they are invested.”

He also points out that choosing ethical investments need not mean accepting lower returns on your money, because  ethical funds have performed well compared to others in recent years. That suggests you can save the planet while growing your savings.

Meanwhile, the Ecology Building Society declares that it exists “for one reason: to build a greener society. We do this through our sustainable mortgages and ethical savings accounts, and we put the needs of our savers and borrowers at the centre of our work”.

Then there’s the Reliance Bank, formerly known as the Salvation Army Bank. Its mission is “to stand out as a bank with a Christian and ethical conscience, and to deliver a personal, excellent and efficient banking service across a range of competitive products”.

News
i100
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

    £200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

    Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

    1st Line Support Technician / Application Support

    £20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...

    Day In a Page

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices