Hello! Welcome to today’s post which is all about ethical banking.
Up until about 6 months ago, I had no idea that there was such a thing as unethical banking! I did some research and realised that I needed to switch over my accounts to banks which aligned with my values. This isn’t always easy though, and I’ve had to open a student account with a bank that isn’t great, as no ethical banks had one. Hopefully as the market for sustainability grows, ethical banks will be able to have more account options!
[This post only focuses on individual banking and includes info about current & savings accounts only. I am in no way affiliated with any of these companies and am not a financial expert]
What Makes A Bank Unethical?
80% of the UK’s current accounts are held across only 5 banking groups. Those banks are all unethical – whether that’s through tax avoidance, investing in tobacco/alcohol, funding fossil fuels or arms dealing – they’re up to no good.
Popular UK Banks & Their Dirty Secrets
HSBC (Inc. M&S Bank and First Direct) – Invests in the Israeli military, Nuclear Weapons, Invested $86.53 Billion in Fossil Fuels [Since 2016], Invests in US Prisons & Immigration Companies & Likely to Avoid Tax.
Lloyds (Inc. Halifax and Bank of Scotland) – Likely to Avoid Tax, Invest in Palm Oil Agriculture & Coal Mining [Althought they claim to be divesting in fossil fuels] & Nuclear Weapons.
Barclays – Invested $118.11 Billion in Fossil Fuels [Since 2016], Invests in US Prisons & Immigration Companies, Nuclear Weapons & Invests in the Israeli military,
RBS (Inc. Natwest) – Invested $12.12 Billion in Fossil Fuels [Since 2016], Invests in US Prisons & Immigration Companies & Invests in the Israeli military & Invests in Palm Oil Agriculture
Santander – Likely to Avoid Tax, Invests in Nuclear Weapons, Coal Mining, Gas & Oil.
There are some high street banks which are more ethical however they’re not perfect or specicially marketed at ethical banking. They include:
- Yorkshire Bank
- Nationwide Building Society
- Metro Bank
- Co-Op [although a US hedge-fund are now the majority owner]
Which Banks Are Ethical?
The best way to stay in the green is by choosing a bank dedicated to ethics and sustainability. There are a couple of great options for us in the UK who invest and function ethically.
Triodos – Triodos offers both current and savings accounts. They aim to be both transparent and sustainable so you know where your money is going and that it’s only supporting companies who positively impact our planet and it’s people. It has also been awarded the Good Egg Mark.
What they offer:
- Current Account – Their current account is £3 a month which helps them keep overdraft fees lower and comes with a bidegradable contactless card.
- Savings Accounts – There are several saving & ISA accounts available, including ones for children.
- Investment Service – There are several investment options available, all of which invest in sustainable companies.
Starling Bank – Starling is an app-based bank which offers current accounts for adults, teens & an euro-based account for travellers. They have a clear ethics statement which talks of their commitment to sustainability and political impartiality, you can read it here.
What they offer:
- Current Account – No monthly fees.
- Joint Account
- Euro Bank Account – It’s a UK based bank account for those who want to use/send/receive euros. There are no monthly fees.
- Teen Account – Designed for 16 to 17 year olds, no monthly fees.
Other app-based banks like Monzo are generally quite sustainable too, so don’t dismiss them straight away.
Charity Bank – There are only saving accounts available with Charity Bank and they support ethical & sustainable enterprises all over the UK.
What they offer:
- Saving Accounts – There are two accounts available for individuals, there are decent interest rates and no fees.
I hope that you found this post useful and are thinking about making the switch to a more ethical bank! It’s not always possible for everything (eg. student accounts), but even if you change your savings/ISA account to a sustainable company, it’s a fab start!
Let me know all your thoughts on ethical banking and if you’ll be making the change in the comments 💚
Where To Find Me…
Enjoyed this post? Be sure to have a nosy around my blog to see some more sustainable living content.
Bye for now!