Wednesday 26th October 2016                 Change text size:

What is your bank doing with your money? 35% of Britons have ‘no idea’

Photo: Ben Sutherland via flickr

Over a third (35%) of people in Britain are unsure about what their bank is using their money for, with 74% saying they would consider switching if it was revealed they was funding “contentious” sectors, according to new research.

Seventy-five per cent of respondents to a poll of 2,004 UK adults by Triodos Bank said finding out their money was going towards human trafficking would concern them. Meanwhile, 73% said the same about forced or child labour.

Pornography (59%), sweatshops (57%), repressive governments (56%) and weapons (50%) were also seen as areas of contention.

Triodos said the results of the poll suggested many people now have higher standards in terms of how they expect their bank to conduct its business.

Asked about the top factors that would influence their choice of bank now, compared to when they first joined their current provider, over three-quarters (77%) said not shelling out excessive bonuses for staff was important. Sixty-two per cent said the interest rates while 58% said acting with honesty and integrity.

Meanwhile, almost half (49%) said ethics were more important nowadays than they were at the beginning of their relationship with their bank.

The findings appear to suggest a knowledge gap in how people’s money is being used. While some banks publish bits of information online about where customers’ money goes, it is often difficult to find the full picture. So much so, that 60% of people in the Triodos poll said they had received little or no information about what their money was doing.

Huw Davies, head of personal banking at Triodos, said, “Our research is a clear call from consumers to the financial services sector to make more fundamental changes, and do so more quickly, if they are serious about getting back in touch with society and regaining consumer trust.

There is a definite message here that the public wants a shift in what banks do and how they do it, which requires a deep-seated change in culture and values.”

Further reading:

Do you know what your money is doing while you sleep?

Sustainable banking: people want ‘to know what’s being done with their money’

From ethics to sustainability: shifting the investment debate for 2014

Sustainable investment is about optimisation, not maximisation

The Guide to Sustainable Banking 2013

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