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Savers Wake Up to Power of Positive ISAs

British savers would like their savings to have a positive impact and would switch providers to make a difference

13-03-2017 |

  • 63% would like their savings to have a positive impact on organisations and sectors that match their values 
  • 50% would switch providers to make a positive difference with their savings
  • 75% currently have no idea where their bank or financial provider lends their money [1]

In an ISA marketplace where there is little difference between cash ISA offers, many savers are looking at how their money can have more impact in the areas that are important to them, according to Triodos Bank.

Research, released today by Triodos Bank, Europe's leading sustainable and ethical bank, found that nearly two thirds (63%) of savers want their savings to have a positive impact on organisations and sectors that match their values. This demand is vital for banks to respond to, as consumers remain committed to ISAs as a savings vehicle. Only a third of savers (33%) are put off saving in a cash ISA by the current low interest rates, and most are not prepared to take more risks with their savings, only one in ten (11%) said they would consider higher risk financial products.

Savers are prepared to move their money to create change and have a more positive impact on society.  Half (50%) said they would switch providers to make a positive difference with their savings, while nearly two thirds (62%) believe that if more people chose to save in socially responsible and sustainable savings products, it would have a positive impact on people, society and the environment. 

While savers recognise the impact their money can have, most are unaware of the options as there is still a lack of transparency and understanding of the activities of most banks.  Three quarters (75%) of savers currently have no idea where their bank or financial provider lends their money.  Seven out of ten (69%) did not know that there are financial providers that publish how they use the money saved in an ISA.

Huw Davies, Head of Retail Banking at Triodos Bank UK, said, "Many people feel they are being kept in the dark about how their money is used by banks and want greater transparency.  They want to feel proud that, while their money is growing, they are helping organisations that are making a positive difference to people and the planet.  At Triodos, we only lend to projects and organisations that have a positive social or environmental impact.  We publish details of everyone we lend to, so savers can see where their money is going and the big difference it is making."

The transition to a low carbon economy is the top priority for savers wanting to make a positive difference.  Nearly half (47%) said they would like their money to be used to help grow renewable energy, while four out of ten (41%) wanted to support energy efficiency.

Top10

People are concerned about social and environmental issues
Social and environmental issues continue to be top of mind. When asked about issues facing the UK today:

  • 77% of respondents were worried about a growing elderly population,
  • 75% were worried about the availability and affordability of social housing, and
  • 70% were worried about the breakdown of local communities.

Other issues that were causing concern were the regulation of the financial sector (65%), prison reform and young offenders (64%), and the need to shift to a low-carbon economy (56%).

Transparency
Lack of transparency ensured that concerns about regulation of the financial services sector continue to run high. Nearly two thirds (65%) said they were concerned about financial sector regulation.

  • 61% of savers would like to know where their bank lends their money.
  • Half (51%) would switch if they found out their money was being lent in areas that negatively affect people or the environment.
  • 67% think that banks and other financial providers need to be more transparent when it comes to disclosing where customers' savings are lent.

"Our mission is to make money work for positive social and environmental change. We lend to organisations that are addressing some of the biggest issues we face today, from care for the elderly like Age Exchange in London, to community renewable projects like Bristol Energy Co-op. We provide customers with a clear link between their savings and the positive difference that they make," said Huw Davies, Head of Retail Banking at Triodos Bank UK.

Cash ISAs currently dominate around 80% of the ISA market [2].  With more than £80 billion [3] saved in ISAs last year alone, there is a potential for savings to make a significant difference if people made a choice to save with a provider committed to positive impact.

Triodos Bank offers a full range of ethical Cash ISAs and Stocks and Shares ISAs so that people can take advantage of the full ISA annual allowance of £15,240. Triodos only lends to organisations generating social, environmental or cultural benefit. Key sectors include social housing, charities & social enterprise, renewable energy, organic food and farming, and fair trade.

Important information: Interest rates may change. Tax savings depend on circumstances. With Stocks and Shares ISAs, capital is at risk and the value of the investment can fall as well as rise, income is variable and note guaranteed, and individuals may get back less than they invested.

-Ends-

For media enquiries:
For interview, case studies and photography:
Faye Holst 07521 898 970 faye.holst@greenhousepr.co.uk 
Ed Grattan 07817 413 792 ed.grattan@greenhousepr.co.uk

Visit: http://www.knowwhereyourmoneygoes.co.uk/

[1] About the research
2,005 people (aged 18+) were interviewed online on behalf of Triodos Bank by Opinium Research between 31 January to 3 February 2017. Weighted to nationally representative criteria. Of those 1404 have some sort of saving product.

About Triodos ISAs
Visit: https://www.triodos.co.uk/isa

About Triodos Bank
Triodos Bank is a global pioneer in sustainable banking using the power of finance to invest in projects that are good for people and the planet. Triodos uses its €12 billion in assets to create social, environmental and cultural value in a transparent and sustainable way.

With UK operations based in Bristol, Triodos Bank has branches in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany and an agency in France. Globally, Triodos Bank has microfinance projects in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a worldwide network of 36 banks seeking to transform finance into a vehicle of positive influence.

Triodos Bank NV (incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands with limited liability, registered in England and Wales BR3012). Authorised by the Dutch Central Bank and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request. Registered office: Triodos Bank, Deanery Road, Bristol BS1 5AS.

References
[2] Source: HM Revenue & Customs, Individual Savings Account (ISA) Statistics 2016
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/547217/Full_Statistics_Release_August_2016.pdf
[3] Source: Kevin Peachey, "ISA savings at new record high, says HMRC," BBC, 26 August 2016. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37193801

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