Welcome to this February newsletter from the Customer Union for Ethical Banking, the independent union for Co-operative Bank customers.
In this newsletter: the bank’s results; our upcoming meeting with the bank; our 2020 strategy; searching for a new board member for the Union; and competitors move on fossil fuels.
Co-op Bank results
The bank released its annual results last Thursday, and posted a slightly larger pre-tax loss than last year. However in comments to us, the bank pointed out that after accounting for the final rush of PPI claims before the deadline (which affected most banks), then the performance is ahead of expectations. The bank also pointed to strong growth in its mortgage and small business banking.
The bank’s Chief Executive, Andrew Bester, was on Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday (listen here from 2hrs 49 mins) commenting on the results. Bester emphasized the bank’s credentials as “the original ethical bank” as well as the work it has been doing to tackle legacy issues and upgrade its technology. Asked whether the bank was strong enough to survive as an independent, he said “absolutely”.
Meeting with the bank postponed - still time to send your questions!
Last month we asked you to send in comments and questions that you would like us to raise with the Co-op Bank at our quarterly meeting with them. That meeting was due to happen in early February but has now been postponed until March 4th, so there is still time for you to send us your questions by reply to this email. Note that we only raise questions connected to the bank’s ethical positioning and broader values, rather than customer service matters.
Report from 2019 Gathering and the Customer Union’s strategy for 2020
We have published a report on our 2019 Gathering, held last November, on our website here. Following on from our discussions with members at the Gathering we’ve also set the core elements of our strategy for 2020. These will be our priorities for the year ahead
- Formal engagement with the bank on the basis of our recognition agreement, especially around (a) the bank’s 2020 Ethical Policy review; (b) the bank’s Values and Ethics report; (c) SME banking and ethics; (d) growing our membership; and (e) encouraging a return to campaigning
- Engaging Customer Union members regularly prior to quarterly meetings with the bank.
- Growing membership through social media presence and potentially with help from the bank’s own communications channels.
- Develop a specialist panel of expert advisers that can guide our development of a strategy for influencing the bank’s ownership
- Organise a 2020 Gathering for members and supporters.
Election of a new director for our board
The board meets quarterly by Zoom video conference to oversee the general strategy and management of the organisation. If you are interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then send out a form to you asking for more details which we can then distribute to members prior to an election.
Banks under pressure on fossil fuel finance everywhere
With best wishes
The Save Our Bank team
Have you joined the Customer Union yet? It costs £12 a year to be a member of the first ever customer union co-operative, and help us ensure the Co-op Bank sticks to its principles. It only takes a few moments to sign up here.