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?