Bank Promotes Ethical Trade

More than £6.5m worth of business considered to be “unethical” was turned away by the Co-operative bank in 2003.

The UK based group said the value of business it had refused was 58% higher than in 2002.

Among the losses bank bosses said it refused £709,500 from arms firms and £556,000 for animal welfare reasons.

But the firm estimates up to 30% of its £130.1m pre-tax profits is due to its “ethical stance”, which prompts people to take out loans and credit cards.

Losing a total of £6.6m, the group said it also turned down £512,500 through refusing business with companies involved in fossil fuel extraction, and £445,000 for deciding not to deal with chemical companies which cause “needless pollution”.

Other issues affecting decisions included poor human rights, tobacco and deforestation, with a further loss of £647,000.

The bank estimates that 30% of its profits are a direct result of attracting customers impressed by its ethical credentials. That is an increase of 6% on 2002.

It said the rise was largely due to an increase in the number of people taking out loans or credit cards who joined the bank for ethical reasons.

Simon Williams, director of corporate affairs at the bank, said: “These figures clearly demonstrate that, whilst our ethical stance clearly leads to lost business, the customer value analysis shows that it has a very positive impact on our overall profits.”

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