The Save Our Bank campaign was set up with two main aims. To make sure the Co-op Bank sticks to its ethical policy, and to return it, ultimately, to majority co-operative ownership. Our campaign, and your support, has secured promises from the bank that it won’t drop its ethics policy. Their statement to us (see below), and the recent TV ad (love it or loathe it…) are further proof of that. It’s time for us to gear up for phase two.
We know that dragging the bank back to majority democratic control will be no easy task. The Co-operative Group, having sold off 80% of the bank to private investors, is not about to buy shares back in significant numbers. But we think there is real potential to build a new stake in the bank that belongs to and is controlled by customers and employees.
What’s more, it’s not just ownership that brings power. Customers - if united and well organised - could have immense influence. Over 10,000 customers have signed up as supporters of Save Our Bank. Our aim is to turn that into just such an organised group that can call the bank to account and increase the co-operative stake - working together with investors and employee unions.
The idea is to form a kind of union of Co-op Bank customers. We don't think anything like it has been tried before - but we believe it can be done and at a relatively low cost. If enough people join.
Tell us your views
Would you join a union of Co-op Bank customers to keep the bank ethical? Would you be willing to pay a small annual subscription fee to support a union – a collective voice to advance co-operative values at the bank? Would you be able to persuade an organisation you are part of – like your work or a charity - to join up or help support us?
Please complete a short survey to tell us your views.
Policy launch in January
The bank has given us a statement:
“Our revised Ethical Policy is now ready to launch but as this is such an important step in the Bank’s fight back we have decided to communicate it to customers in January away from the busy run up to Christmas. We want it to be a public statement of intent so that our customers, colleagues and wider stakeholders will clearly see that we are serious about our commitment to values and ethics and how integral it is to our future strategy. We believe the New Year is the best time to do this.”
They have stressed that existing commitments will be retained or built on and that the policy will cover new areas. Well, we’ll have to wait and see what that means exactly, but we think that this is encouraging news and a sign that our campaign has been worth it.
Other Co-op Bank News
Here is a quick round-up of other news from the Co-op Bank since our last newsletter.
- The Co-operative Bank can keep its name, says Co-operatives UK. The bank must meet criteria saying it should “exist in order to promote co-operative activity” among others. Read more...
- A report by the Treasury found that "by far the biggest responsibility" for the 2013 crisis "lies with the Co-op Bank leadership" but also named KPMG and the FCA. Read more...
- Dennis Holt, a former Lloyds TSB director, is the new chairman of the Co-op Bank.
Please help us reach further by talking to friends and family about our plans. Forward this email, use social media channels and tell your friends.
Will you help take back control of the Co-op Bank? Share your views on a customers’ union http://saveourbank.coop/union-survey #saveourbank
If you’re a Co-op Bank customer, take a look at this – a customers’ union to take back control of the Co-op Bank http://saveourbank.coop/union-survey
Thank you, and please don’t forget to complete the survey.
The Save Our Bank Team