Move your money writ large
Co-op Bank's agreed deal to takeover Lloyds branches increases ethical bank's share of the market to 7%
It was announced today that the Co-operative Bank - one of our Best Buy banks - is to takeover 632 bank branches from Lloyds. The sale was demanded by European regulators following the Lloyds/HBOS merger in 2008.
With this new raft of Lloyds bank customers the Co-operative's share of the market is predicted to rise from around 2.5 to 7%. From an ethical point of view this means that a substantial chunk of potential commercial lending will no longer be available to arms exporters, fossil fuel extractors, animal testers - and all the other problem areas refused under the Co-op's current ethical policy. From a public revenue point of view it will also see less money at risk in a broken banking model based on short term speculation and greed. Less likely to fail, it is less likely to need a bailout from taxpayers in the future.
The Co-op Bank is adamant that the takeover will not involve a compromise of its ethical principles. The merger process will be slow, and at times painful, as those customers that don't fit with the Co-op Bank's new model move on. But the Group - with its complex takeovers of Britannia and Somerfield under its belt - has shown that it can make this kind of merger work without having to compromise on the ethics which have made the brand so strong.
For those of us involved in the Move Your Money campaign - asking people to shift their bank accounts in protest at the current state of international banking - this takeover will see 4.8 million people joining the Co-op's ethical brand. This makes it a very good day for banking reform campaigners everywhere. It is, in the words of Barry Clavin - the Co-op's Ethical Policies manager, "Move Your Money writ large".