Ethical stance costs Co-op Bank £8.7m revenue from spurned deals
The Co-operative Bank turned down £8.7m in business last year because of ethical and ecological concerns, according to figures released today.
The amount of business lost to the bank because of its ethical stance rose from £6.9m the previous year. The Manchester-based society also reaped rewards from its holier-than-thou stance as it attributed 34 per cent of its £132m profits last year to its ethical policies. That compares with 29 per cent in 2003.
More loan and savings account customers joined up and stayed with the bank for ethical reasons, it said.
Simon Williams, a spokesman for the Co-op, said: "When we launched our ethical stance back in 1992, its initial appeal was very much to individual customers who wanted to know what happened to their money while it was in the bank. Now, 13 years on, 36 per cent of personal customers and a quarter of the bank's corporate customers join us precisely because we are prepared to turn away certain sorts of business."
Refusing to provide banking services to companies on ecological grounds cost the bank £3.8m last year, while the cost of turning away business for animal welfare reasons was £1.29m.
Declining to do business with companies associated with poor human rights and labour practices lost it £847,000, and rebuffing organisations that are involved in the production of controversial chemicals cost it £688,000.
The number of companies turned down increased because the Co-op widened the scope of background checks made on business customers applying for an account. For instance, in property finance it routinely assesses the ethical record of not only the developers, but also any tenants that may underpin the development or acquisition.
Mr Williams said: "Our customers expect us to rigorously police our ethical stance and so we not only look into the activities of a would-be customer but also the supply chains in which they are involved.
"For instance, we investigate a company to see if it is concerned directly in the extraction or production of fossil fuels, and also whether they supply products and services of strategic importance to such areas."
The Co-op employs more than 4,200 people at 100 branches in the UK and has 2 million customers. It is part of Co-operative Financial Services, which includes the internet bank Smile and the Co-operative Insurance Society, and has more than 7 million customers.
The Co-operative Bankreported last month a 1.5 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £132m in the year to 8 January, marking the 11th consecutive year of record profits.
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
First-time buyers in London 'need to earn at least £77,000'
General Election 2015: Photographic history of Bullingdon Club tracked down - including new picture of David Cameron in his finery
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...
£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...