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Positive bank accounts

Changing your bank account to a more positive provider is one of the simplest and most effective choices you can make.


In recent years mainstream banks have deservedly come under a huge amount of criticism for their business practices – such as supporting fracking and other fossil fuels, manipulating LIBOR rates, promoting a casino-mentality and ‘fat cats’ culture, and excessive bonuses. So there are plenty of reasons to switch!

The top-rated accounts on ethical grounds may not always be the most practical choice for consumers and you may have to compromise on other features. For example, building societies tend to score high on ethics - as mutuals, they are owned by their customers and avoid investing in controversial areas - but may only offer accounts to people living in the area where they operate. Other factors you might want to consider are the availability of a local branch or whether or not they offer online accounts.

The choice of positive current accounts is currently quite limited. The following current account providers all score highly as well as being available to anyone throughout the country. Triodos Bank says it plans to offer current accounts in 2017. If this goes ahead they are very likely to be at the top of the list!
 

Name Account opening & management UK branches

Metro Bank

Launched in 2010, the first new high street bank to open in the UK in over 100 years. Open 7 days a week. Highlight customer service, communities, kids & free dog biscuits!

Branch, online, mobile, phone Branches throughout London & the SE

Nationwide Building Society

The world’s largest building society, with over 15 million members and a customer service satisfaction rating of 97%.

Branch, online, mobile, phone Branches throughout UK

Norwich & Peterborough Building Society

Owned by the Yorkshire Building Society. A local mutual but its accounts are available to anyone in the UK online.

Branch, online, phone, post (not currently accepting new customers as of October 2016) Branches throughout East Anglia

Bank of Cyprus UK

May seem like a surprising option but gets the same ethical score as the Co-op Bank and has been operating in the UK since 1955.

Online only 3 in London, 1 in Birmingham

Co-operative Bank

Despite its recent issues the Co-op still has a strong environmental policy, overt support for renewables and a robust ethical lending policy, which includes refusing to provide services for fossil-fuel related businesses. However with the recent announcement that the bank is to be sold it is unclear if these will continue.

Branch, online, mobile, phone Branches throughout England & S. Wales, 2 in Scotland

Smile

Online version of Co-operative Bank, sharing its unique ethical policy.

Online, mobile, phone No Smile branches but customers can use Co-op bank branches

Al Rayan Bank

The UK’s only wholly Sharia compliant retail bank. It does not charge or pay interest (but may charge rent & pay profits). Sharia ethics prohibit investment in alcohol, gambling and highly speculative activities and take a partnership approach to risk and reward.

Online, phone, mobile A few branches – 2 in London, also Birmingham, Leicester, Manchester & Bradford

Other mainstream banks that score well in the Ethical Consumer ratings include Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank.

How to switch

Until recently, many people stuck with the same bank for all their life. The good news is that, since the launch in 2013 of the “Seven Day Switch” guarantee, it’s become much easier to change your bank account as the bank you switch to does most of the work. Over 3 million people have already taken advantage of the service, which makes switching simple, reliable and stress-free.

Many people are choosing to move their money away from the big High Street names to smaller, independents – whether it’s because they prefer their customer service or their positive values. A full list of banks offering 7-day guaranteed switching can be found here.

Need help?

The Ethex team are here to help from 9am to 5pm

https://www.ethex.org.uk/savings--investments_16.html

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