Statement from the Customer Union for Ethical Banking and Save Our Bank

Following announcement Monday 13 February by the Co-operative Bank

The Save Our Bank campaign has over 10,000 supporters. Almost 1,500 are paid up members of the Customer Union for Ethical Banking. New supporters and members, all Co-op Bank customers, are joining us all the time. We represent a significant part of the active customer base of the Co-op Bank.

From the launch of the Save Our Bank campaign in 2013, we have pressed for the Co-op Bank to stay true to its unique and world-leading ethical policies, and - ultimately - to return to some form of cooperative ownership. Our goal is for the bank to succeed as an ethical, customer-owned and led bank.

We welcome the clear statement by the bank that it will place its ethical heritage and customer proposition at the centre of its efforts to find new sources of capital and potential new owners.

We welcome the bank’s stated intention to look at alternative ways to strengthen its capital position.

We call on the bank:

  • To seek co-operative sources of capital - the bank's own customers, or other European co-operative institutions;
  • To engage with customers and the Customer Union so that, in the spirit of being a customer-led bank, we have a say in what happens next.

We call on the Co-operative Group to join with us in pressing for a new ownership structure that puts customers at the centre of the bank’s future and helps strengthen its connection with its co-operative heritage.

We also call on the bank's regulators, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to recognise the importance of co-operative models as part of a a healthy and diverse financial system, and seek ways to protect and preserve co-operative customer ownership as part of the Co-operative Bank's proposed sale.

Our members have asked us to start the process of raising funds to buy an increased stake in the bank. While this might be small in the overall scheme of things, the fact that so many of our members and supporters have indicated a serious desire to own a stake in the bank, with the risks that entails, shows that customers could play a role. The loyalty of the bank’s customers has been a very important factor in the bank’s fortunes since 2013.

We represent that loyalty and we intend to show how the customer voice can play a positive role in the bank’s future.

Customer Union for Ethical Banking

Save Our Bank Campaign