Triodos, Europe’s leading sustainable bank, has opened registrations for its first ever UK personal current account, which will be rolled out from June this year.
The bank, which has been operating in the UK for over 22 years, only lends money to organisations and projects that are making a positive difference to society – be it socially, culturally or environmentally.
Triodos lends over £700m to organisations and projects ranging from charities, community schemes and social housing providers to organic farmers, homelessness programmes and renewable energy projects.
To ensure complete transparency, Triodos also publishes details of every loan it makes.
The bank is launching the account in response to growing consumer demand for banking products that demonstrate a positive impact on society.
‘Our new personal current account brings an inspiring new option to the UK current account market, which we believe is dysfunctional and is obviously dominated by a small number of large banks.
‘We want people to really think about what their bank is doing with their money. Money doesn’t have to be invested in the arms trade, fossil fuels and tobacco – it can be used to do good things that help build the society we want to live in.
‘For many years now, consumers have had the opportunity to align their values with the food they choose to buy, the transport they take, and the energy they consume. Now they have that choice with their daily finances, using their money as an irresistible force for good that works towards positive social, cultural and environmental change.’
Triodos’ UK managing director
The truth behind ‘free’ banking
The findings from a consumer survey commissioned by Triodos in February this year echo this sentiment; six out of 10 respondents (61%) wanted to know where their bank lends their money, but three-quarters (75%) were unaware of where it actually ends up.
Triodos’ new personal current account will also challenge the practices of many high-street banks which, according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), make approximately £1.2 billion from customers stumbling – however briefly – into unauthorised overdrafts.
Customers will be charged £3 per month for the current account service and, while arranged overdrafts are available, the bank will not allow unarranged overdrafts, thus removing the risk of high penalty fees. Unpaid items will incur a basic charge of £5 – with a maximum monthly charge of £50 – to reflect the administrative costs to the bank.
‘There is no such thing as ‘free’ banking because someone else always pays. ‘Free’ accounts are usually subsidised with high penalty charges and hidden fees, so the most vulnerable customers, or those making a rare miscalculation with the household finances, end up paying an exorbitant price. This isn’t fair so we are leading by example with a fresh approach.’
Head of retail banking at Triodos Bank