03 November 14 from www.saveourbank.coop, www.saveourbank.coop

After the launch of the bank's Ethical Policy poll, we expressed our surprise that some of the statements in the bank's existing Ethical Policy were not included in the survey. For example, the bank's policy on not financing “any government or business which fails to uphold basic human rights in its sphere of influence” was missing entirely, while the policy on tax avoidance had changed from one of not financing companies “that take an irresponsible approach to the payment of tax in the least developed countries” to one on not banking “businesses that illegally avoid paying tax”, which we felt was much weaker.

03 November 14

The Chair of the Co-operative Bank has announced he will step down 1 October - earlier than originally planned.

Richard Pym was brought in to help stabilise the bank following a credit downgrade and take it through the re-capitilisation process last year. He replaced Paul Flowers, who was subsequently embroiled in a scandal involving illegal drugs.

Dennis Holt will take over as interim chair.

 

03 November 14

The Co-operative Bank announced today - Bastille day - that it has received 73,000 responses to its ethical survey. This is almost as many as the last survey, which was backed by a much bigger publicity campaign including TV advertising. It is a strong indicator of the importance customers still place with the ethical stance of the bank.

The survey asked customers to choose policy areas and statements that mattered most to them. This worried some Save Our Bank supporters, however Save Our Bank was given a promise by the bank that this was just so that customer priorities were better understood, and that the survey would not be used to drop existing ethical policies.

26 September 14 from www.uk.coop, www.thenews.coop

Co-operatives UK, the federation representing the UK's co-operative sector, has said that the Co-operative Bank can keep using its name, providing that it satisfies certain criteria. These include requirements that the bank should “exist in order to promote co-operative activity” and “operate in line with co-operative values, and not discredit the co-operative business model”. In its statement, Co-operatives UK says that it is engaged in a programme of action with The Co-operative Bank to ensure that it complies with the criteria.

 

08 June 14 from www.theguardian.com

In an article for Comment is Free in the Guardian, the Co-op Bank CEO Niall Booker refers to the history of the co-op movement and promises not to drop previous ethical commitments. This is exactly what Save Our Bank has been calling for.

He says: "Refreshing our existing ethical framework and also asking about three new areas – responsible banking, transparency and treating customers fairly. Our aim is not to exit any existing areas but to add to them, update them and make our ethics more relevant to our customers."

 

04 June 14 from www.uk.coop

The Co-operative Bank has joined Co-operatives UK - the federal body for UK Co-operatives.

The surprise move suggests that the bank is keen to show its support for co-operative values and principles, albeit while only being 20% co-operatively owned. The bank was never actually structured as a co-operative in its own right - until December 2013 it was 100% owned by The Co-operative Group, which is a founding member of Co-operatives UK.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: “We are working closely with The Co-operative Bank through this period of substantial change and are pleased they are joining in with the wider co-operative movement through their membership. 

30 May 14

A message to the Bank on its Ethics consultation

Dear supporters,

The bank’s consultation on its ethics is fast approaching – we expect to see it launched in the next few weeks. The bank invited us to meet with them, and we think they are listening to our demands. But let’s make sure they are in no doubt about what we are asking for, with one last push.

We’ve been taken aback by the level of support for the Save Our Bank campaign. We know that our message to stay together and not switch yet has not been easy for many, but it’s because we have stayed, and because there is strength in numbers, that the bank has had to take us seriously.

28 May 14 from uk.reuters.com

The Co-operative Bank has appointed Laura Carstensen, a commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, as the new chair of its values and ethics committee. Laura Carstensen was previously a partner at lawyers Slaughter and May and is a former deputy chairman of the UK Competition Commission.

The the same time the bank reported that it had completed its £400 million pound capital raising excercise. The fundraising was 2.5 times oversubscribed.

12 May 14 from www.co-operativebank.co.uk

The bank is saying it has met its capital raising target sooner than expected with commitments from shareholders totalling £400m. This includes the Co-operative Group who, as expected, will be diluted to 20% but will remain the largest single shareholder.

In the news release, chief exec Niall Booker is quoted:

“This capital will strengthen the Bank for our customers and enable us to continue with our business plan, which aims to return the Bank to its roots as a bank focused on our retail and SME customers with values and ethics at the heart of what we do"

10 May 14 from www.uk.coop

Ed Mayo, general secretary of Co-operatives UK (the UK federation of co-operatives) has indicated that the bank could retain the "Co-operative" name despite the fall in the mutual share to just 20% - providing "the values demonstrate the co-operative worth of the bank going forward". The statement draws attention to the fact that other organisations are in a similar situation.

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