We have highlighted two anti-social finance issues – tax avoidance and directors’ pay – and the funding of both fossil fuels and nuclear weapons.
Three names cropped up in all four of these areas – Santander, Citibank and HSBC.
Fair tax and unfair tax
In March 2016, Ecology Building Society became the first building society to receive the Fair Tax Mark, demonstrating the Building Society’s openness and transparency regarding its tax affairs.
Unfortunately, this positive news runs counter to the secrecy and aggressive tax avoidance that continues to pervade the rest of banking sector.
We rank companies on their likely use of tax avoidance strategies, by looking at the type of subsidiary companies they have in tax havens.
Worst rating: Virgin Money, Danske Bank, Bank of Ireland, Santander, Lloyds Banking Group, Citigroup, HSBC, Tesco Bank, and TSB.
Middle rating: Handelsbanken, RBS, Coutts, NatWest, Ulster Bank, and Barclays.
Best rating: Triodos, The Co-operative Bank, Charity Bank, Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank, ICICI Bank, Al Rayan Bank, Sainsbury’s Bank, and Metro Bank and the following building societies: Chelsea, Ecology, Norwich & Peterborough, Nationwide, Coventr, Cumberland, Kent Reliance, Leeds, Newcastle, Principality, West Bromwich, Skipton, Yorkshire.
Excessive Directors’ Remuneration
We mark companies down for paying their senior staff more than £1 million, as we believe more than this to be excessive in a world of huge inequalities.
The following companies in this savings guide paid more than £1 million in 2016 (also see directors pay in the finance sector):
Citibank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander, Co-op Bank, Barclays, Tesco Bank, TSB, RBS Group, Nationwide Building Society, J Sainsbury, CYBG (Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks), Virgin Money, Handelsbanken, Danske Bank, Kent Reliance, and Metro Bank.
Funding nuclear weapons producers
Eleven banks in this savings guide were directly involved in the financing of the nuclear weapons industry, according to the latest ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb’ report:
Old Mutual (part owns Kent Reliance), ICICI Bank, Santander, Lloyds Banking Group (Bank of Scotland, Birmingham Midshires, Halifax, Lloyds, Scottish Widows), Danske Bank, TSB Bank, Citibank, HSBC (HSBC, First Direct, part owns M&S Money), Bank of Ireland (Post Office), and RBS Group (Coutts, Ulster Bank, RBS, NatWest).
Funding climate change
Five companies in this guide are listed in the latest report looking at who funds extreme fossil fuels, like tar sands, Arctic oil and coal mining:
Citibank, Barclays, Santander, HSBC, and RBS Group (Coutts, Ulster Bank, RBS, NatWest).