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?