The response the Co-operative Bank has received to its ethics poll, which asked customers what was important to them, demonstrates the importance and demand for values in the banking sector.
The launch of the survey followed the bank raising £1.5 billion capital last year after discovering a black hole in its balance sheet. This led to hedge fund taking a stake in the bank and some questioning whether or not the Co-operative Bank could hold on to its ethical credentials. A review blamed governance for the bank’s troubles.
The bank maintained that its ethics are in its constitution. The poll and commitment to updating its policy supports its claims that it will remain loyal to its ethical roots.
Over 73,000 customers and colleagues responded to the Co-op’s poll, which will be used to review the bank’s ethical policy. The most recent poll sought to gauge the opinions of customers in regards to its five current pillars – human rights, international development, animal welfare, environment and economic and social development in Britain – that make up the current ethical framework.
Customers were also quizzed on three new areas – responsible banking, transparency and treating customers fairly.
Niall Booker, chief executive of the Co-operative Bank, said, “I’m delighted that we’ve had such a strong response from our customers and colleagues. It just shows how much importance people place on our values and ethics as we continue to transform the bank and rebuild trust in the banking sector.
“Values and ethics sit at the very heart of the Co-operative Bank and are what makes us different from other banks. The results of this poll will now help us focus our activity in a way that reflects our customers’ views”
The bank will now work with the Institute of Public Policy Research to analyse the responses given in the poll and develop a new ethical policy. The new policy will build on the Co-op Bank’s existing one and incorporate the views of its customers.
Prior to launching the survey, Booker noted that trust in the banking sector overall was at a low and that a “trusted, effective and fair” sector was needed to address this and other social issues. By involving customers in its ethical policy it hopes to bridge some of this gap.
Photo: The Co-operative via Flickr