The Co-operative Bank celebrates 150 years of ethical banking with fundraising evening

22 November 2022

4 min read

  • The bank’s 150th anniversary celebration held in Manchester on 15 November, included awards for bank colleagues during an evening that reflected on the key moments and achievements in the bank’s history.
  • With the support of the bank, colleagues and key partners, the evening raised £150k to support the bank’s chosen charities including; Amnesty International UK, Centrepoint, Hospice UK, Oxfam, The Woodland Trust and Refuge.

Following a year of events and initiatives to mark the 150th anniversary of The Co-operative Bank, the celebrations were brought to a close with an evening of fun, fundraising and awards for colleagues who have embodied the bank's core values and displayed standout service when supporting their peers and bank customers.

Held at the iconic Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in Manchester city centre, colleagues of the bank, representatives from charity partners, suppliers and an array of corporate partners were in attendance for an evening that celebrated the standout moments through the 150-year history of the bank. The event was also an opportunity to recognise the passion, dedication and outstanding service of bank colleagues, with 10 individuals receiving awards through nominations from their peers, for how they epitomise the key values and culture of the bank in the work they do and how they help and support others.

Speaking after the event, The Co-operative Bank CEO Nick Slape said: “I’m beyond proud to have been part of such a fantastic evening that was the perfect way to mark our 150th anniversary. To see colleagues come together to recognise and celebrate each other alongside some of our key suppliers and corporate partners, truly represented what it means to us to be The Co-operative Bank.

“The various events and initiatives that we have undertaken this year have been a blend of looking back at what the bank has achieved in the last 150 years, but also a view of what is to come from the bank in the future. Our latest Ethical Policy, (launched mid-2022)*, shows our ambitious commitments to support the planet, people and our communities, and builds on the significant achievements we’ve made to date as we move forward, working together with our customers, colleagues, partners and suppliers as we continue what the visionary pioneers started back in 1872. There is much important and exciting work to be done and I, and the team at the bank, are looking forward to what we can accomplish together over the next 150 years.”

Key highlights of the Bank’s 150 year history include:

  • Since 1872 the bank has supported local communities, behaving fairly and honestly, and paying workers a proper wage. The original ethical bank, founded by real people with a real desire to challenge the status quo by creating a fairer, co-operative business.
  • In 1974, we became the first UK bank to offer free banking services for accounts in credit. And in 1976, our Handybanks appeared in Co-operative shops; giving customers access to their money outside of banking hours, making sure our customers could have what they need, when they needed it.
  • We became the first UK high street bank to launch a customer-led Ethical Policy in 1992, giving our customers a say in who we are and how we do business. Over the years we’ve continually developed our Ethical Policy to help tackle our customers concerns, such as refusing to support the activities of oppressive regimes happening around the world, saying no to animal testing for cosmetics, supporting Fairtrade, and not financing fossil fuel extraction.
  • In 2002 our ‘Customers Who Care’ programme concentrated on the dangers of cluster bombs, whose many sub-munitions often fail to explode on impact, killing and maiming civilians across war-torn nations. We sponsored new research on their impact and raised money for mine clearance.
  • With the best ESG score of any UK high street bank**, The Co-operative Bank continues to champion the fight against climate change. As the first UK bank to sign the Paris Pledge in 2015, denying finance for coal mining and power generation The Co-operative Bank has been beyond carbon neutral since 2007.
  • Returning to campaigning in 2015, we collaborated with with the UK domestic violence charity, Refuge, for our ‘My money, my life’ campaign that demonstrates the extent of financial abuse in intimate partner relationships in the UK. We then revisited our work with Refuge in 2020 for our ‘Know Economic Abuse’ campaign that highlighted the impacts of the Covid pandemic on instances of economic abuse.
  • Earlier this year (2022) The Co-operative Bank’s latest disruptive marketing campaign is taking on high street banks who continue to finance the climate crisis and is urging UK consumers to ‘Withdraw From This’.

Further details of the Bank’s 150 year history are available on the website:

150 Year Anniversary of The Co-operative Bank | The Co-operative Bank


Notes to Editors:

Bank guests at the event included (but were not limited to) representatives from:

Amnesty International UK
Co-operatives UK
Customer Union for Ethical Banking
Disasters Emergency Committee
Ethical Consumer
Friends of the Earth
Hospice UK
Kyndryl UK
The Co-operative Heritage Trust
Woodland Trust

Awards winners from the evening:

Colleague award: Elizabeth Spencer and Chris Roberts
Customer award: Davina Brock and Tom Moss
Community award: Charlotte Urwin and Andrew Stavordale
Long Service award: Diane Hughes and Sarah Coxon
Co-operators of the year awarded to: Sabina Phillips and Curtis James

* More of the Bank’s future-focused commitments can be found in its latest Ethical Policy here:
Our Ethical Policy | The Co-operative Bank

** In 2022, Sustainalytics, a leading Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risk rating agency, affirmed our position by naming the Bank as the best ESG-rated high street bank for the second consecutive year, with a negligible risk rating of 8.3, down from 9.2 in 2021

For further information, please contact:

Nicki Parry
The Co-operative Bank
Mob: 0773 400 2983

About The Co-operative Bank

The Co-operative Bank plc provides a full range of banking products and services to retail and SME (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) customers and is committed to values and ethics in line with the principles of the co-operative movement.

In 1992 The Co-operative Bank took a pioneering step to become the UK’s first bank to have a customer-led Ethical Policy. And it’s still unique today. The Bank’s Ethical Policy defines how it acts as a business, the causes it supports and the ways it uses (and won’t use) customers’ money. It is shaped by the views of customers in regular Values & Ethics Polls.

In 2022 The Co-operative Bank is celebrating its 150th year of providing ethical banking services, and remains strongly positioned to provide an ethical alternative in the UK banking market.


The Co-operative Bank Press Office

Landline: 0151 271 1985

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