I wonder who will be advising them?

The Co-operative Bank has officially banned lending to companies involved in payday lending and those gambling and tax avoidance activities that it deems irresponsible as part of an effort to restore its ethical credentials.

The troubled bank, which last year gave majority control to its lenders as part of a £400m fundraising, has rewritten its ethical policies in response to a poll of 74,000 customers and staff.

Chief executive Niall Booker said the people surveyed had highlighted these types of borrowers as particular ethical worries. “While they know we are not doing a large amount of business with these [corporate customers], they still said this was a big driver for them,” he said.

Mr Booker said the Co-op Bank will take outside advice when it comes to setting the scope of tax avoidance that would bar a company from getting a loan from the bank. “There’s bona fide tax management and there’s tax avoidance. Some of this will be factual, and some of this will be judgmental,” he said.

If it were him I think he would have told us all by now. And anyway, I expect they’d prefer to go with someone who can actually read a set of accounts, no?

12 thoughts on “I wonder who will be advising them?”

  1. “Chief executive Niall Booker said the people surveyed had highlighted these types of borrowers as particular ethical worries. “

    I know these types of surveys tend to be self-selecting, but still…are there REALLY that many people out there for whom this is a genuine concern?

    Or do they really click a button thinking ‘this’ll make me look good’?

  2. So Much for Subtlety

    The Co-operative Bank has officially banned lending to companies involved in payday lending and those gambling and tax avoidance activities that it deems irresponsible as part of an effort to restore its ethical credentials.

    I take it that Abortionists are still okey-dokey as well as their traditional market of crack dealers and rent boys?

    I am amused by the fact that the Co-ops customers can recognise the moral vacuum at the heart of modern Britain but can find nothing but an OxFam campaign to fill the hole.

  3. bloke (not) in spain

    On lending.

    Just been reading this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/11356024/Which-politician-would-you-trust-to-pay-back-10.html story in the Telegraph & can confirm I’m one of the majority who wouldn’t trust a politician to borrow a tenner.
    For I did, many years ago, lend cab fare to a person who went on to became a Tory MP & cabinet minister. And I’m still waiting. And with an election looming, he may well be knocking on this very door….

  4. I see nothing in the co-op document about tax avoidance and I’m inclined to think the quote from Niall Booker referring to it as partly judgemental is just CYA; they don’t want to be seen to be associated with aggressive avoidance, just the cuddly ISA stuff.

    Also “it deems as irresponsible” is incorrect. The document specifically states “irresponsible…as defined by relevant legislation”.

    The part quoting about payday loans is correct: those “Whose core business is the provision of payday loans” [won’t be able to access banking services] – written without a hint of irony.

  5. If the Co-op doesn’t want to lend to payday lenders, then perhaps it can set up an responsible and fairly priced alternative? After all, we’re frequently told that such a thing is possible. But we’re then told that credit unions can serve the market – but I think even those suggesting that know that it’s rubbish, even the very biggest credit unions have nowhere near the capacity or infastructure to compete with Wonga et al at the current market price, let alone a lower one.

    The Co-op, on the other hand, could be the first actual bank to step up and try and find a nice way to help people who’ve had their benefits delayed for no good reason and need quick access to cash that doesn’t involve talking to ‘Chainsaw Dave’ out the back of the Snot’n’Gobble.

  6. Fascinating that their ethical policy excludes only payday lenders, and not the likes of Wonga or the Provident.

    And this on p25:

    – The causes we support will be politically neutral.

    What about all those Trade Unions?

  7. I used to bank with The Co-op. The second-most annoying thing about it (after the ineptitude, which was why I left) was the bloody newsletter, Fleeting Obsessions Of Champagne Socialists Monthly. Jesus wept.


    Christmas is coming, so buy your children something they’ll really love: a piece of paper confirming that you’ve adopted a goat in Tanzania instead of buying them any presents.

    We speak to one of our customers who knits her own bread out of tofu.

    On a budget? Discover Britain’s best family days out for under ten thousand pounds.

  8. @TTG

    ‘If the Co-op doesn’t want to lend to payday lenders, then perhaps it can set up an responsible and fairly priced alternative? After all, we’re frequently told that such a thing is possible.’

    Exactly the argument I’ve deployed vs lefty chums of mine (quite a few of my chums are lefty as it happens).

    I sometimes personalise it by pointing out that a fair few of them are millionaires and they could actually set up a loan organisation themselves – it could even just wipe its face, no need to make a disgusting profit.

    At which point they start mumbling about barriers to entry, which I point out is the fault of the State.

    But there are no B2E with the Co-Op, so why don’t they do it?

    (Because they are posturing, dishonest scummers who couldn’t care less about ‘the poor’ – if they did, they’d all be earning at most the national average salary and living modest, ascetic lives. That’s why.)

  9. Tim

    Honestly, suggesting Ritchie shouldn’t advise on tax avoidance because he can’t read accounts.

    Everyone knows you can tell firms involved in tax avoidance just by checking the CEO for warts or birthmarks.

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