Newsletter 13 April 2018

Dear supporter

Gender pay gap - Co-op compared with other banks

The Co-op Bank has one of the lowest gender pay gaps among British banks on the British high street, beaten only by Metro Bank. All of the banks have a huge discrepancy in the average hourly pay rates for men and women, and the Co-op Bank is no exception, with women earning a median figure of 22.6% less than men. (The median is the middle figure when the hourly rates of all staff are listed in ascending order.) But the big high street banks all do worse, with Barclays the worst performer.
 
The deadline for reporting data on gender pay gaps passed on 5thApril, and many companies scrambled to get their data out at the last minute. The Co-op Bank to its credit reported its data early - back in November- and it got some poor press at the time because the other banks had not yet released their own data. Now it’s clearer that they are actually one of the better performers, although clearly there’s much work to do. The bank has set targets to improve gender equality, and we will be keeping an eye on their progress towards meeting them.
 
How the figures stack up: percentage by which women’s hourly rate is lower than men’s at UK banks
 

Average gender pay gap  Mean Median
Barclays 48% 43.50%
Lloyds (inc Halifax) 37.60% 42.70%
Virgin Money 32.50% 38.40%
RBS (inc Natwest) 37.20% 36.50%
Santander 37.10% 29.10%
HSBC 59% 29%
TSB 31.00% 24%
Co-op 30.30% 22.60%
Metro Bank 22.40% 13.50%

 
(Data from Business Insiderand the UK government’s websiteHere’s a good explanationof the difference between the mean and median.) .
 
Co-op bank results - still losing money but not as fast

Since our last newsletter, the bank has also put out its annual results. It has made a loss each year for the last five years, but losses narrowed substantially - from £477 million in 2016 down to £174 million in 2017.
 
The bank’s chief executive, Liam Coleman, talked in a statement to the press about the bank’s “distinctive ethical brand, which we know is greatly valued by customers”, saying: “We must focus on using that in the most effective way to support future growth as we implement our plan to build a successful, sustainable Co-operative Bank."
 
This recognition “from the top” that it’s the bank’s ethics that set it apart is good, and we will keep pushing the bank to ensure the rhetoric is matched by action.
 
Bank owners in it for the long term? So are we!

In an interviewfollowing the bank’s results, the chief executive was also asked a question we’ve been wondering ourselves - how long before the hedge funds that now own the bank want to sell up? “Certainly not in the short term”, was the response. The bank’s Chairman said potential sale or flotation was not even under discussion at the bank’s recent meetings.
 
If we want to see the bank return to co-operative ownership, we’ll need to be in it for the long term as well. As you know from our last newsletters, our priority for the first half of the year is growing the Customer Unionto make sure we have the resources to do the job.
 
If you can, please help us meet this goal by joining the Customer Union if you haven’t already, for just £12 a year. If you are already a member, please look out for renewal reminders - which provide a quick and easy way to renew your subscription. You can check your status at any time by clicking on Member log in.
 
With best wishes,
The Save Our Bank team.