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So the Chancellor is calling for banks to rebuild trust and the Tories are saying they must go back to being boring and prudent. I would go much further. All banks must be forced to adopt ethical policies, so there would be absolutely no question of repeating the appalling gambling spree they’ve been on.

I’ve banked with the Co-operative Bank for over 20 years now and have been consistently impressed with their ethical policy, such as not investing in oppressive regimes or any business which supplies them with arms.

But more than this their whole ethos has meant they have not behaved like all the other banks. Being owned by a co-operative, they are accountable to members and customers, not stock markets and speculators. And because they don’t have shareholders to consider, they can aim to deliver stable and sustainable growth, without taking excessive risks. This is exactly the model all the banks must be forced to emulate.

I have also just opened a savings account with my local Credit Union, which is the fastest growing financial movement in the world. Credit unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by their members; they are local and ethical. They ought to be championed by government as the way of empowering people who can’t get a bank account.

We have to end the casino capitalism that has caused so much damage.

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2 Comments

    • Henry Quisling
    • Posted May 8, 2009 at 9:23 pm
    • Permalink

    You’d force banks not to anything which you personally disagree with? What an odious little statist you are!

    • shirleyford
    • Posted May 10, 2009 at 10:05 pm
    • Permalink

    Yes I would argue for banks to be forced to behave ethically. But it would not be my personal say so as to what counts as ethical! At the very least banks ought to be forced to develop an ethical policy by consulting their customers, which is how the Co-op has done it. The definition of ethical ought to be set by Parliament. I have taken part in many NGO campaigns for disinvestment in apartheid South Africa, in the arms trade, in pornography. Allowing the freedom to invest in such odious sectors is not something I want our society to tolerate.


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