Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Bank you very much


I hate banks. And not just for soft, philosophical reason. I hate their queues, their forms, their protocol, their stinking call centres. I hate scrambling for my own money, the pass-the-buck way of handing problems - and did I mention how I felt about queues?

And though I thought my passionate distaste for banks could be no more bitter, but then I consulted The Good Shopping Guide and alas, I dislike my own bank even more. You see, my bank, which shall remain nameless (apart from this hyperlink to their homepage), got terrible scores for 'Oppressive Regimes' - which I'm no fan of. Related companies also have bottom ratings on things like 'Nuclear Power', 'Pollution', 'Animal Rights', 'Workers' Rights', 'Irresponsible Marketing' and (wait for it) 'Armaments'. Talk about a vile skank-pit!

Anyway, as far as I was concerned, Unchained was taking its business elsewhere. And after reading encouragement on the Anti-Apathy website, there was no question, I was off to Triodos.

For those of you who don't know Triodos, they're an ethical bank. Think that sounds like an oxymoron? It isn't, this is a beautifully copied and pasted piece of copy from the Triodos website:
Triodos Bank finances companies, institutions and projects that add cultural value and benefit people and the environment, with the support of depositors and investors who want to encourage corporate social responsibility and a sustainable society.

Our mission is

  • To help create a society that promotes people’s quality of life and that has human dignity at its core.
  • To enable individuals, institutions and businesses to use money more consciously in ways that benefit people and the environment, and promote sustainable development.
  • To offer our customers sustainable financial products and high quality service.
Lovely, isn't it?

Yes, lovely for some.

You see, Triodos have decided not to give Unchained an account.

Why? Well, while Triodos fully supports the Unchained concept and think our work promotes a sustainable future (hallelujah), they don't think there is a good fit between our two companies because I cannot vouch for the Fairtrade and Organic status of every single one of our shop members.

And now? Well now I find myself torn. Part of me respects Triodos for having such strict criteria for banking. But the other, bigger part is really frustrated. I desperately want to bank responsibly, but it doesn't look like I can. Even the other bank that has a good community focus and reputation also has that unfortunate colour ring denoting a related company's involved in 'armaments'. Boo.

I need your opinions and recommendations. Where should we take our ethical, socially conscious (but not organic) business? Do you think Triodos are right? What's a girl to do?

1 comment:

Claire said...

How about the Co-operative Bank? They have an ethical banking policy - http://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/servlet/Satellite?c=Page&cid=1170748478012&pagename=CB%2FPage%2FtplStandard&loc=l

Gooshing have them on their recommended list although I haven't checked them out any further...