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Record year for ethical banking

Savers switch to sustainable banking in wake of high-street banking scandals

05-12-2012 |

  • Triodos Bank welcomes record new customers - 260% increase against 2011
  • 28% of people planning to open a new bank account in the next year
  • 24% of people are fed up with banks that make high profits and don't give enough back

After an annus horribilis for Britain's high street banks, alternative and challenger banks look set to reap the rewards.

Still from Triodos Bank in one minute, a short animation

Triodos Bank has reported a 260% increase in new personal accounts compared with the previous year.

Ethical bank Triodos Bank reports a 260% increase in new customers in 2012 against the same period in 2011. And following the recent round of cuts in savings rates at high street banks Triodos Bank's rates are now even more competitive - as a result it expects this strong growth to continue into 2013.

Research* conducted on behalf of Triodos reveals 28% of people are planning to open a new bank account the next year. The figures show that 77% of people have a main current or savings account with one of the 'big five', and 17% with an ethical bank or building society. Depsite people's apparent loyalty to their banks in years to date, this year looks different, and the Triodos figures reveal a trend away from high street banks that is likely to continue.

'People are saying enough is enough and are taking action in their droves,' said Huw Davies, head of personal banking at Triodos Bank. 'Our research tells us that banking customers have had enough of a whole range of issues, from bonuses, to excessive profit, to scandals, and are looking for something  a bit different.'

For 22% the summer of banking scandals is a reason to open a new account. A quarter (24%) of people are fed up with banks that make high profits and don't give enough back to the consumer and think this is a reason to open a new bank account.  A further quarter (23%) have had enough of the large bonuses paid by some banks.

Furthermore, people's trust in their bank has all but disappeared. When asked about their reasons for not opening a new account just 3% say they trust their bank. And 28% of people who don't think their bank has their best interests at heart consider their bank is too focused on short term profit over long-term strategy and a further 18% think their bank is irresponsible with the money they entrust to it.

Davies added: 'People have now realised how easy it is to put their money where their mouth is and show their dissatisfaction with the high street banks. They have started to look for options where they benefit from a competitive rate, have good customer service, but also where they can feel good about their bank and how it does business, including how it uses savers' deposits.  With significant recent changes in savings interest rates, ethical options now compete on rate as well as 'ethics'.

Saver Eleanor Harries, who moved her money to Triodos Bank earlier this year, said: " I wanted my money to be put to a good use, rather than risk it being used to fund the arms trade or be used to support companies that are involved in environmentally damaging activities. The thing that made me move my money is that I'm more interested in helping to make the world a better place than getting the best-available return on my savings. I like knowing that my money is being used for beneficial purposes and has a positive impact on society.

Triodos Bank uses money consciously to help achieve positive social, environmental and cultural change. It only lends its savers' money to people and organisations who are working to make a positive impact on society and the environment. Via the website www.knowwhereyourmoneygoes.co.uk people can see exactly how their money is being used. Customers include the solar electricity installation at Glastonbury's Worthy Farm, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage, green power company Ecotricity and more than 800 other sustainable enterprises.



For further information, case studies or interviews, please contact:

Lisa Stanley, lisa.stanley@triodos.co.uk 0117 980 9721 / 07983 002013
Will Ferguson, William.ferguson@triodos.co.uk 0117 980 9770 / 07899 965640
Faye Holst, faye.holst@triodos.co.uk 0117 980 9584 / 0755 778 5167

* Research conducted by Opinium Research among 2012 UK adults (aged 18+) between 25th and 28th July 2012. Weighted to a nationally representative criteria.

About Triodos Bank

Triodos 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 and Triodos publishes details of every business it lends to.  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 UK office opened in 1995 and is based in Bristol.


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