The Co-op Bank’s consultation on its ethics is fast approaching. Save Our Bank supporters want to see bank use the upcoming ethics consultation as an opportunity to show it recognises the need to build trust, and to strengthen rather than weaken its commitment to ethics. Here are our five messages to the bank on what we would like to see in this consultation:
- Keep strong rules on who to do business with: the bank will be interested in which ethical policies matter most to customers – that’s good. But we want a commitment that the survey won’t mean that some rules get quietly dropped.
- Show the ethics mean actions as well as words: make a clear commitment to keeping strong and independent monitoring and auditing of the policy implementation. We’d suggest that to rebuild trust, the bank should report every three months on business it has turned away.
- Rebuild positive ethics: it’s not just the business that the bank turns away that matters. Make a commitment to continued support for renewable energy projects, co-operatives, charities, credit unions and under-served financially excluded communities. Show how the bank will work differently from other banks in future and avoid scandals like PPI.
- Campaign and lead on ethical issues: the campaigning stance that the bank has taken in the past - tackling difficult issues such as cluster bombs, the struggle for democracy in Burma and lobbying for the Climate Change Act – has inspired many supporters of Save Our Bank. Show us that the bank is ready to be brave with new campaigns, from loan sharks and payday lenders to social justice and rising inequality.
- Be ethical on pay: the revelations about bonuses at the top of The Co-operative Group were unacceptable. We recognise that the bank needs talented people – at all levels. We want to see the bank reject the huge pay and bonuses packages awarded to top executives at other banks, and instead take a lead by treating pay as an ethical issue, whilst ensuring that the majority of the hardworking staff, who have dealt with the backlash, are also rewarded for their part in saving our Bank.
Save Our Bank supporters have made it clear that they will leave if the bank’s ethics are watered down. They joined the campaign because they would rather stay with a bank they can be proud of: bold, campaigning, and leading the way on ethical, responsible banking.