Industry failure on financial inclusion

...forces The Co-operative Bank to review its basic bank account

  • Bank calls for a level playing field with all providers, including new entrants, genuinely performing on issue of financial inclusion
  • No longer offering Cashminder current account to un-discharged bankrupts*

In response to a lack of positive industry action on the issue of basic banking**, The Co‑operative Bank today announces a change to its basic bank account – Cashminder, for new customers.

With immediate effect (from September 17, 2012) the bank is no longer accepting new customers who are un-discharged bankrupts, this decision does not affect the bank's existing customers.

Explaining this change in more detail, John Hughes, Managing Director of Retail Banking at The Co-operative Bank comments:

"Across the industry there has long been an un-level playing field in the provision of basic bank accounts, with our bank doing far more than most*** and we have been calling for some time for this to be addressed.

Unfortunately it has now come to the stage where our disproportionate market share of the basic bank account market has continued to grow significantly, and regretfully, we now need to take steps to address this."

For a number of years now The Co‑operative Bank has been only one of two providers in the market who offer bank accounts to un-discharged bankrupts. Whilst the bank will no longer be opening new accounts for un-discharged bankrupts, it remains fully committed to working with existing customers who find themselves in financial difficulty.

Commenting further, John Hughes adds:

"The Co‑operative recognises the importance of access to a bank account to enable people to participate actively in modern life, this is an issue that we have raised persistently in an attempt to encourage all providers to act equally. As a responsibly led business, over the years we have worked tirelessly to promote access to banking, for example by providing bank accounts to some of the most financially excluded groups such as prisoners, as we do believe that banks should play their part in offering people a fresh start.

However it is now time that all providers acted equally on this issue. Whilst we have had to make immediate changes to address our disproportionate market share, we remain committed to financial inclusion and are willing to lead the way in calling for current account providers, consumer groups and policy makers to work together to introduce a sustainable approach for basic banking that provides consumers with access to appropriate accounts and services.

Looking ahead we will closely monitor the industry to strike a balance between our commitment to tackling financial exclusion whilst also ensuring we operate in a sustainable manner that maintains our competitive position as a genuine alternative in the market. If the market changes and measures are introduced to ensure that all account providers, including new entrants, genuinely perform on this issue, we will review our decision."

Notes to Editors

* Our definition of an un-discharged bankrupt is someone against whom a bankruptcy order has been made and who has not been discharged from bankruptcy. In most circumstances the customer is discharged after 12 months.

** Basic Banking refers to the provision of Basic Current Accounts, which are aimed at those on limited budgets who need to keep tight control of their finances and who don't require and overdraft or chequebook.

*** For a comparison of basic bank accounts, please visit:

For further information please contact
Lauren Hoult
The Co‑operative Banking Group Press Office
Tel: 0161 903 3822
Email :
Twitter: @coopbankpr