However, just the act of banking with Triodos and being part of our growing customer numbers created more disruption in the banking world than people may realise. In our 25th anniversary year, it seems timely to thank you - our customers - for that support and explain the positive disruptive impact you create.
Triodos has pioneered sustainable banking and finance to be a reference point, providing leadership to show that banking can be positive for both the environment and people, whilst still being successful and robust. With talk of ‘building back better’ and a ‘green recovery’ from the Covid-19 pandemic, we are gaining increasing recognition with growing awareness of the need to change mainstream finance to be a force for good and of the need for finance to align to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
One form of recognition this year came when we were awarded the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development which cited the bank for ‘a strong sustainability ethos and leading the way in creating a more sustainable approach in the banking sector’. We also topped the Ethical Consumer best buy tables again for our personal current account, savings and investments, establishing Triodos as the pinnacle for sustainable finance in the UK.
However, it is customers voting with their feet and joining Triodos and the recognition of awards voted for by our customers that are even more valued, and which create disruption on their own. It creates a ripple effect greater than the sum of its parts.
We are one of only five banks consistently seeing net growth in the UK current account switching service (CASS) data – that is the people who are fully switching their banking to another bank. So, those who have joined Triodos are ensuring we are listed nationally alongside very few banks demonstrating growth, and importantly we regularly lead on ‘net’ switching which is the number of new customers verses those leaving – showing that when people move to Triodos they stay!
We transferred to become a UK subsidiary of Triodos Bank N.V. in 2019 to be ready for all forms of Brexit and therefore became eligible as a UK registered bank to enter the British Bank Awards for the first time. These awards were voted for by customers who helped Triodos be named Customer Service Champion and come in second in the overall awards, as well as receiving a ‘highly commended’ recognition for our Personal Current Account. The success at these awards created something of a stir and ensured the banking sector and commentators are taking more notice of our customer growth and people’s demands for truly sustainable alternatives as well as high quality personal service.
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Our customers were also surveyed as part of the Fairer Finance league tables, where our savings accounts were this year rated higher than all other UK banks and building societies, most importantly rating considerably higher on Customer Trust. The importance of this customer affirmation is that it confirms that there is a real alternative where customers do not have to compromise in order to have their money aligned to their values.
It is also important support for Triodos Bank because the odds are really stacked against a truly different kind of bank. Most media regularly focus on disruptors as the fast growing ‘challenger banks’ and ‘fintechs’ looking primarily at growth and quirky service offerings. They rarely scrutinise their long-term viability, if they help address bigger societal needs or whether they offer anything really different to our existing high street banks.
Even the government’s own scheme comparing customer experiences of banks only covers the largest 19 banks and not the 140 or so options consumers have in the UK. The irony is that smaller might actually be better in terms of you being a valued customer and not just a number.
The challenges of sustainable alternatives rising to the fore are also underlined by price comparisons websites and consumer magazines only comparing banks on interest rates and terms. To date, mainstream organisations like Which? or MoneySavingExpert still do not offer any comparison based on sustainability or ethical criteria, undermining any true sense of consumer value. The value of an interest rate or cash bonus may mask that it is being paid by financing fossil fuel, arms, tobacco that undermine a fair and sustainable future for the consumer of that product.
So, in a world where many are still yet to make the connection of the role money plays in society and how it can be a hugely powerful force for good, the support of Triodos customers in demonstrating increasing demand and supporting us with recognition in mainstream awards is vital to helping us raise awareness. It makes other banks and commentators take notice and raises the bar across the banking sector.
From all of us at Triodos Bank UK, a big thank you to our customers – you are the great disruptors!
Help us grow by referring a friend
Did you know that you can now refer your friends and family to Triodos Bank?
If you already bank with Triodos, then we'll donate £25 to Friends of the Earth, RSPB or Soil Association for each new Triodos Current Account customer who joins on your recommendation.
And what's more, your friends can choose to donate £60 to charity or to receive a gift voucher when they open an account with us. Eligibility, terms and conditions apply.
Together, we can change banking for good.