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Banks keep savers in the dark when it comes to the use of hard earned savings

04-10-2011 |

  • Just three per cent of savers feel banks are transparent about what happens to their savings once deposited
  • 54 per cent would consider switching provider if they knew their bank was using deposits to fund controversial industries
  • 85 per cent want more information about what happens to their savings
Only three per cent of savers in the UK feel their bank does enough to explain what happens to their savings once they are deposited, according to research* from leading ethical bank Triodos.

The research asked savers to say how transparent they felt their banks were when it came to their approach to lending out and investing consumer savings deposits. Shockingly, over a quarter of respondents had absolutely no idea what the banking industry did with their savings once they were deposited.

Triodos' research also reveals how bank customers feel about their savings potentially being used to support industries traditionally considered controversial. Over half of savers (53 per cent) as above said they would be concerned if they knew their bank was lending money to exploitive consumer goods production (i.e. sweatshops). A similar number (50 per cent) would be concerned about their bank lending to weapons production, over a third (34 per cent) have issues with funding intensive animal farming.

Over half the respondents, (54 per cent) claimed that if they knew their bank was using their deposits to fund these contentious sectors, they would vote with their feet and consider switching providers.

Charles Middleton, Managing Director at Triodos Bank said : "Our research makes it very clear that the majority of savers are genuinely concerned about how their deposits are being used. The banking sector as a whole must acknowledge the need to transfer financial support from damaging activities to more socially responsible alternatives. We believe savers have a right to know if their hard earned cash is being used to fund industries such as weapons production or the tobacco industry, only then can they make an educated choice as to where they deposit their money."

Half of those surveyed (50 per cent) feel there is little information freely available explaining how consumers' savings are used, while over a quarter (26 per cent) have never had any information from their banks. The public clearly thinks this situation is unacceptable, with 85 per cent of savers agreeing more information should be freely available about what happens to money saved with a bank.

Charles Middleton continued : "UK consumers want and deserve a full understanding of where their money is being invested and lent, so they can make informed decisions about where to deposit their savings. With over three quarters (76 per cent) of bank savers saying they have little to no information from their banks as to where their hard earned savings are being used, they are powerless to do anything. We therefore urge the major banks to make their business models transparent to customers, with clear reporting on all levels of business."

- 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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