Consumer Union for Ethical Banking

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Consumer Union for Ethical Banking
FoundedFebruary 2016
Members1,200 (2019)
Office locationUnit 21, 41 Old Birley Street, Manchester, M15 5RF
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Consumer Union for Ethical Banking is a United Kingdom consumer organisation campaigning for The Co-operative Bank to return to co-operative ownership in the future.[1] It has also played a part in pressuring the leadership of the bank to implement external auditors for it's annual values and ethics report.[2] It has received over 10,000 signatures of support the bank's customers.[3]

Issues at the Bank

In the first half of 2013, the Co-operative Bank (a subsidiary of the Co-operative group) lost £700m, making the planned expansion of the bank impossible, and raising some warning signs for the banks customers. Later that year, in May, a £1.5bn "black hole" was found in the bank's accounts. This failing was largely blamed on the bank's chairman, Paul Flowers and the takeover of Britannica Building Society in 2009.[4][5]

This led to the eventual takeover of the bank by several hedge funds, to plug the financial gap of the bank, which otherwise would have collapsed.[6]. In April 2017, the Co-operative group sold off its remaining 20% stake in the bank, marking an end to co-operative ownership. At this time, serious questions were raised by the Save our Bank campaign about its ethical status, with the union saying that the bank 'would not stand a chance' if it did not continue with its ethical policy.[7][8]

History of the union

The consumer union was born out of the Ethical Consumer Magazine's Save our Bank campaign, which was spun off into a separate co-operative society in 2016, after a successful £30,000 crowdfunding campaign was completed. The union says that becoming a co-operative society will help their members to 'contribute to the debate on how to keep ethics at the heart of financial decision-making at the Co-op Bank'.[9]

In the future, the union has said that it will hold the Co-operative group to account over its decision to continue with its ethical policy. It also plans in the future to slowly buy a share in the bank, in a bid for an eventual return to co-operative ownership.[10]


  1. "A union of Co-op bank customers | Save Our Bank". Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  2. correspondent, Kalyeena Makortoff Banking (2019-12-05). "Customers clinch victory as Co-op Bank recognises ethics campaign". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  3. "Save Our Bank". Ethical Consumer. 2018-05-30. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  4. "Co-operative Bank's former chairman 'seeking help' after drugs admission". THE GUARDIAN. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  5. "Profile: Paul Flowers". The Telegraph.
  6. "Co-op Group makes loss as bank stake written off". BBC. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  7. "Co-op Group makes loss as bank stake written off". BBC.
  8. "Co-operative Group's stake in Co-op bank to fall to 1%". BBC News. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  9. "CUEB gathering on ethical future of Co-op Bank". Co-op News. Retrieved 2020-06-30.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "Save Our Bank". Ethical Consumer. 2018-05-30. Retrieved 2020-06-30.

External links

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