Friday, 27 April 2012

I {heart} my bank

Probably not a sentence you hear often. More like something such as, "It's all the Bankers' fault" or "The bank are robbing my money again" or "Did you hear the size of that banker's bonus?". Well, ladies and gentlemen, there is good news a-coming, just read on!

So up until August I had accounts with HSBC (other corrupt banks are available) because my Dad worked for them until he retired a year or so ago. But I was eager that once family loyalty was not an issue, and there was no danger that if I changed banks my student loan would get lost in cyber space, that I would choose a bank for myself. I'd heard good things about the Co-operative bank so they were my first port of call for a current account and regular kind of banking. The man I spoke to was super helpful and not at all patronising when I asked {lots of} questions which were probably really obvious and it was all done rather quickly really. Now, I like the Co-op because not only are they nice in person but they're nice in principle, they have a negative ethical poilcy, which means that they withold investment from any company or body that it or its customers deem unethical. This is pretty counter-normal as most banks routinely invest in the arms trade, blood diamonds etc etc. They also have a pro-community policy so they are proactive in doing things and investing in things which have a positive impact, so that's nice!

So I am pretty happy with the Co-op for all my day to day doings, but, seeing as I am a total geek, who really enjoys hunting around for the best savings accounts, researching tax policies etc, I did want to look elsewhere for somewhere to save money as the Co-op's rates aren't the best at the moment (because they're not investing in those nasty things I mentioned above). I was very close to saving with the Post Office, because I thought they sounded trustworthy and they offered a pretty good deal, but then I found this AMAZING bank called Triodos. They are similar to Co-op in that they won't invest in anything they think has a negative impact on our society or our world, but they go a step further by only investing in businesses which make a positive impact. They also offer some pretty good rates for a small bank and they are super transparent about how they run as a bank and the projects they invest in. They invite every account holder to General Meetings so you can hear what's going on and send you a really cool magazine called The Colour of Money with good news about what the bank is up to. You get to hear about these cool little cafes, education trusts and development projects which Triodos is investing in and every quarter it puts a smile on my face and determination in my gut to live as ethically as possible.

In conclusion, here's a couple of little questions and challenges:

1. Do you know where your money goes?
2. Why not check out the super cool, lovely and money-savvy guys at Triodos?
(There are like a gazillion links on this page to do so - ok, like 5)
3. What issues of justice, social action and responsible living really get you going?

I . LOVE . MY . BANK 

2 comments:

  1. I've been meaning to sort out our banking for ages as we're with Natwest at the mo. My only concern is that if we end up moving to the back of beyond for Josh's curacy/work it's unlikely that there would be a co-op branch...and then where would we pay in our cheques etc etc?

    Do you know if you can have two current accounts with two banks at the same time? Also, do you know if Co-op does insurance? x

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    1. Fear not!
      1. You can do Co-op business like paying in cheques etc. at any post office and their online service is pretty comprehensive too.
      2. You can hold two current accounts with two banks at the same time. I only just got round to finally closing my HSBC acocunt last week. Usually, when you open a new current account, the bank will offer to transfer all of your standing orders, direct debits etc for you and close your old account, but you can ask them to just transfer things and leave the closing down of your old account for you to do in your own time (or not at all).

      Can you tell I'm a finance geek? :p

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