On being bought and sold

I happen to bank with Lloyds TSB and am just learning that the bank accounts that I hold with them are going to be transferred to the Co-operative when the various Lloyds TSB branches are sold, something that has just been announced this morning.

I have to say I’m delighted. I’d rather bank with the Co-op – it fits in with my values much better than the banks I’m with. I joined the TSB when I was a student because it was at that stage thought to be a socially responsible institution (and in a rather more shallow way, because it had the prettiest branch interior in town).

What I can’t work out is why I’ve not changed before now. It seems so much easier to be bought and sold than to walk into a branch and close one’s accounts. That makes no sense whatsoever.

They say that people are more likely to change their religion, change their partner or change their political allegiance than to change their bank account. I know that I’ve been reluctant to shift, but can’t really work out why. That reluctance on the part of so many of us to shift banks must have contributed to the moral stagnation that is currently to be found in the UK banking system. If we were all a bit more active about it, things might be better.

It is interesting to reflect that I’ve often been asked in church to buy fair trade bananas or such like but I struggle to remember much of a campaign to get me to change my bank. There have been consistent calls for ethical investment to be used by churches themselves and one of the struggles for congregations as well as national churches has been the lack of choice. There simply have not been very accessible branches of banks which seemed to offer more ethical alternatives.

I hope that by the sale of the Lloyds-TSB banks to the Co, those choices will be increased and that there will be a competition not simply for our money but for our values and morals too.

There is a campaign to get people to move their money. I feel a complete fraud in even linking to it having not movedmymoney.org at all. However, I’m glad to hear about the changes that are ahead and for once am happy to be bought and sold.

What’s your excuse?


  1. I’m contemplating it – too much instability coming up in the next couple of months though.

    You might find http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/money/bankingcurrentaccounts.aspx interesting – the CoOp don’t seem to score all that highly, although obviously better than established big names.

  2. I did move my account and our joint account about 18 months ago – from Lloyds to the Co-op!

    My reason was what appeared to be a policy to get as much money out of me as possible, culminating in imposing an accumulating daily penalty for a going a very small amount overdrawn on one account by accident when I was ill. The charge amounted to much more than the original overdraft. They didn’t inform me of this for several days and the basic attitude was ‘well that’s your lookout’. They knew that there was enough money in other accounts to cover it.

    I knew about ethical banking before that – our son is a great advocate of ethical banking and had suggested we moved to the Co-op several times – but it was only a personal experience of what I considered unethical behaviour which damaged me personally that gave me the impetus to do it.

    Many years ago when my father was struggling financially, his branch of Barclays called him in to tell him off about his overdraft. He went straight across the road to another small local bank called Martin’s, asked if he could transfer his overdraft there and they lent him the money to close down the account at Barclays. He always said that Barclays had to eventually take over Martin’s to get his custom back!

    One thing I did find with moving banks though – it was actually not quite as straightforward as I was told it would be – there were several standing orders and direct debits that didn’t get automatically transferred so there were a couple of months of companies contacting us to tell us we owed them money! However it was all fairly easy to sort out on the phone. Also we were on a lower overdraft limit for the first six months so if you need to use the whole of your current overdraft limit every month it’s best to be clear about what you’re being allowed.

  3. Tracey says

    I bank with the Clydesdale because I work for them, and they require you to have your salary paid into a Clydesdale account.

    I wonder if Howard’s branch of Lloyds is being sold to the Co… I really hope so, for hunners of different reasons.

  4. Helen says

    I wonder how ethical the co-op bank actually is. I have had a preference for shopping at co-op supermarkets because of their ethical stance,until the recent revelations that they are among the worst offenders for driving down the price of milk below the cost of production. Fair trade and ethical have to apply to the uk too.

    • The Cooperative have just increased the price they pay to milk producers, in response to concerns raised. As to the bank, “more ethical than any of the other high street banks” is about as good as it gets right now.

Speak Your Mind