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ICB report does not tackle key consumer concerns

85% of all UK savers want more information on what banks actually do with their money

12-09-2011 |

  • 85% of all UK savers want more information on what banks actually do with their money
  • Three out of four savers (74%) think banks should take more responsibility and proactively do more to help society

Independent Commission on Banking

Commenting on the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) report Charles Middleton, Managing Director at leading ethical bank Triodos, said "The proposals within the ICB report fall short for three main reasons:

"It is encouraging to see plans for robust ring-fencing of retail deposits proposed by the report; however I believe full separation of banking functions are needed to fully insulate taxpayers against failure and actions of investment arms. Only this complete separation will provide depositors with institutions they can trust, and which can be more accountable.

"Secondly, banks need to start becoming fully transparent to customers, with clear reporting across all levels of business, so that savers and investors can make a choice as to how they want their money to be used when deposited.

"And lastly, this report fails to address the broader, more important questions around the role banks have to play in society. Banks should publicly consult on a range of socially-relevant issues and support more social and environmental businesses through financing. The potential for banking to bring positive societal and environmental change is huge and must be recognised by the world's financial regulators and institutions."

According to a recent consumer poll conducted by Triodos, 25% of savers have never had any information from their bank explaining how their savings are being used. It's therefore no surprise that a staggering 85% of all savers in the UK want more information to be freely available from banks so they can see what actually happens with their money once it's deposited with them.

The poll also shows that over half of UK savers (54%) claim they would be concerned if they knew their hard earned savings were still being invested in complex financial derivatives, one of the key drivers of the financial crisis back in 2007.

Savers also feel banks should have a wider social role to play, with three out of four (74%) wanting banks to take more responsibility and proactively do more to help society. The Triodos consumer poll also revealed that over half of savers (54%) said that if they knew their savings were going to be used to lend to industries such as tobacco companies, intensive animal farming and sectors like weapons production and exploitative consumer goods production they would move or consider changing providers.

Charles Middleton added: "The proposed implementation date of these reforms by 2019 is obviously a measure to give the high street banks time to get their houses in order; however it is vital that the government maintains momentum outlining a clear timetable of reforms. If the banking industry is to win back the support and trust of the British public, it is vital they make their business models more transparent with clear reporting across all levels of business. Savers need to be able to make informed choices as to how they want their deposits used. Banks also need to be explicit on whether they lend to, or invest in, key sectors of concern such as complex financial products or industries that present ethical challenges such as weapons production or the tobacco trade."

- Ends -

Notes to editors:
Opinium Research conducted research on behalf of Triodos Bank between 26th and 29th August 2011 with 2054 Nationally Representative UK adults aged 18+.

For further information, please contact:
Jemma Green/ Duncan Skehens
Lansons Communications
020 7294 3642 / 020 7566 9732
jemmag@lansons.com / duncans@lansons.com

About Triodos Bank

The bank only finances enterprises which create social, environmental or cultural added value. Key sectors include organic food and farming, renewable energy, social housing, and fair trade. Transparency is a core value: customers are informed about the bank's lending.

A range of personal savings accounts is offered, and full banking services are available for businesses and charities. Triodos Bank is an independent bank founded in the Netherlands in 1980. Its principles and independence are protected through a special shareholding trust. The first UK office opened in 1995. Offices are located in Bristol, London and Edinburgh.


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