by Stephen Williams MP
The Libor scandal has shown the UK’s banking sector in its worst light. The public has lost trust in the big banks and are concerned that their politicians are more interested in political point scoring than the urgent task of fixing our broken banking system.
That is why, last year, I joined the Move Your Money campaign, which urges the public to use their consumer power to change the behaviour of the big banks by moving their money, or at least some of it, to ethical, local or mutual financial institutions.
The stats show that we are more likely to go through a couple of divorces than move away from our bank. But moving our money would make them sit up. So why not open an account with an ethical bank? I have opened an ISA with the Dutch ethical bank Triodos, whose UK HQ is in my Bristol West constituency. Once the government’s reforms go through it should be much easier to move whole accounts, preferably to new providers. The current big banks will have to change and work hard to earn our trust and our custom.
Move Your Money UK estimates that an average of 80,000 savers a month have been leaving the crisis-prone banking giants – a total of almost half a million since the start of 2012, when the campaign launched. Their sister campaign in the USA has helped over 10 million customers move.
There has been an increased interest in alternative financial institutions since the recent scandals, according to figures from Move Your Money UK. The Charity Bank has seen a 200 per cent increase in depositors and my local branch of Triodos has had a 51 per cent increase in applications.
This morning, I emailed all Parliamentarians calling on them to join the campaign; we all want a better banking system, now we need to put our money where our mouths are. I’ll continue to urge all parliamentary colleagues, including ministers, to move their money.
The simple act of moving your ISA, current or savings account not only helps support socially responsible financial providers but also gives a clear message that, following the revelations of the past fortnight, it cannot be back to business as usual for the big banks.
Joining the Move Your Money campaign and pledging to move your money will go some way to create a more responsible, diverse and sustainable banking system, one which serves the needs of households, small businesses, local communities and the UK economy.
For too long, the UK has been at the mercy of five big banks. They cannot continue as they do, failing to lend to small businesses, paying undeserved bonuses and ripping off their customers. Half a million ordinary people have already taken a stand and moved their money; now it’s Parliament’s turn.Tags: Banks, UK politics