Newsletter 5 December 2015
Ten days to join Save Our Bank customer union! Plus: stop Co-op Bank account closures
There are just ten days left until the end of the Crowdfunder campaign to start a customer union. We’ve now raised over £25,000 – well over our £15,000 target and within reach of our “stretch target” of £30,000. This would give us enough to cover our projected costs for the first year and perhaps make a start building a co-operatively owned shareholding in the bank.
We also said we would like to launch with 2,000 initial members – that’s a fifth of our 10,000 supporters. We may not get all the way there – we have about 1,200 now – but the more bank customers we represent, the stronger the voice we will have at the bank.
After the Crowdfunder is closed, it will take some time to get the Union established, meaning there will be a period (hopefully short) while the Union cannot take on new members. So if you haven’t pledged yet, please pledge while there is still time to become one of the first wave members and help us reach the target!
Act on campaign group account closures
As we reported last week, the Co-op Bank has in recent weeks started closing the accounts of a number of campaign groups. This began with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and around 20 local Palestine support groups. One of these is a registered charity based in Sheffield supporting the university degrees of some 43 women studying in Gaza – surely work which the bank should be proud to support.
We have now heard that the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and the Wales Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign have also had their accounts closed, all with minimal explanation.
In a statement given to us the bank said that it was obliged legally to ensure that transfers of funds to “high risk” locations do not inadvertently fund illegal activities. We accept that the bank has obligations but this leaves a number of questions we are asking the bank to answer.
We asked you in our last newsletter if we should launch a petition on this. We got over 400 responses, with 96% in favour.
So, with your support we are challenging the bank to stop account closures, and instead help groups who want to make transfers to “high risk locations” to do so responsibly and in ways that allow the bank to satisfy its regulatory requirements, so it can keep accounts open. After all, doing the right thing sometimes requires taking a certain amount of risk.
Please sign the 38 Degrees petition here, and share.
Facebook: The Co-operative Bank must stop closing accounts of Palestine and other support groups http://s.coop/stopaccclosures
We want the bank to change its position on this as we think they have made a mistake. Some people have closed their accounts in protest at what the bank is doing. We urge supporters to stay with the campaign and with the bank. We explain why here.
It is at times like this that we hope the union of customers can have an impact.
With best wishes,
The Save Our Bank team