Non-Profit Banks Could Be the Answer to Rural Scotland's Banking Crisis, Campaigners Say

Posted: 10 May 2018, in Blog


This article appeared in CommonSpace on Wed 9 May 2018, view the full article here:


Extract from the article:

Duncan Thorp of Social Enterprise Scotland:

“Not much has changed in the mainstream banking industry since the financial crash of 2008 – despite the big scandals engulfing the financial elite, a business-as-usual approach continues today,” he said. “The media and public outcry has largely disappeared and some politicians seem to have forgotten their pledges for fundamental reform. However, there are many ethical alternatives to the mainstream banks.”

Among these, Thorp said, are credit unions, which are community co-operatives serving specific areas or communities of interest and do not have shareholders.

“Like all social enterprises their profits go back into the business. They provide affordable loans and encourage saving. Anyone can bank with a credit union but they specialise in helping the most excluded,” he explained.

Additionally, he said, ethical banks such as Triodos, Unity Trust Bank, Charity Bank and the Ecology Building Society provide current accounts and invest “only in positive things like community owned renewables”.

“It’s not just about bank accounts, the increase in ethical pensions reflects consumer demand too,” he added. “We should be encouraging more people to investigate where their bank invests their money and make the switch to an ethical alternative.”

Thorp recommended that people make use of websites such as Move Your Money and Ethical Consumer Magazine, and the help of campaign groups like Positive Money, in order to understand how the system works and how to change it.

“Consumer power in banking has massive potential to shift wealth and power away from the financial elite and towards local communities,” he said.