Ethical screening

We've made a commitment that we won't provide banking services to businesses and organisations that conflict with our Ethical Policy (PDF). But what does that really mean?

Our Ethical Policy covers a broad range of issues relating to our planet, to people and to the communities we live in. Within it are a number of statements describing business activities that we will not support, either through the provision of banking services or through lending. For example, we are the only UK-based bank listed in the Don’t Bank on the Bomb report Hall of Fame (October 2019) and the Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions report Hall of Fame (December 2018), in recognition of our Ethical Policy position not to provide banking services to businesses or organisations involved in the manufacture or transfer of indiscriminate weapons.

Our ethical screening process

Every new business customer completes an Ethical Policy Questionnaire as part of the application process. Where a potential conflict with the Ethical Policy is identified, the application is referred to a specialist team for additional screening. If a potential customer does not meet the ethical expectations set out in the Ethical Policy, we will not to accept them as a Co-operative Bank customer.

Every year we report the number of organisations we’ve declined due to a conflict with our values and ethics in our Sustainability Report. Here are some examples of the types of business we’ve declined…

Human rights

A consultancy business providing services to companies working in the defence sector was not accepted as a new customer. We considered their activities to be in conflict with our position on the manufacture or transfer of arms to oppressive regimes.

Irresponsible marketing

We declined services to a business that was making irresponsible marketing claims about the efficacy and safety of their product.

Climate change

A consultancy business involved in the supply of equipment used in the extraction of oil was not accepted as a new customer. The nature of the business was considered to be in conflict with our Ethical Policy statement on the extraction of fossil fuels.

Animal welfare

We declined services to a business that manufactures equipment used as part of intensive farming practices and which was therefore considered to be in conflict with The Bank’s Ethical Policy.

Screening existing business banking customers

Our Central Screening Exercise is a risk based review of our existing business customers to ensure they remain compliant with our Ethical Policy. Those considered to present the greatest potential risk of conflict with our Policy are required to complete an up-to-date self-certification form.

Ethical business accounts

Specifically designed with small businesses, charities and community groups in mind.

Ethical banking

We've always shared our customers' passion for values and ethics. That's why we're different from other banks.

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