Co-op refuses £700m-worth of loans on ethical grounds

The Co-operative Bank has turned away over £700 million in business since introducing its ethical guidelines in 1992, it has revealed.

Under the terms of the policy, the bank does not grant loans to companies which are involved in what are deemed to be unethical businesses or investments.

However, far from costing it in terms of business and profits, the Co-operative Bank believes that the policy has actually helped to draw in custom.

In 1992, the bank loaned out £571 million. This has now grown to £1.997 billion – an increase in excess of 250 per cent.

Of loans declined for ethical reasons, most were on an ecological basis, as the applicant company was determined to be involved in environmentally harmful practices.

Other reasons for decline included animal welfare, animal testing of cosmetics, blood sports and arms trading.

Jonathon Porritt, founder and director of Forum for the Future, said the bank is setting an example for others to follow.

He added that turning down loan applications of millions of pounds on ethical and environmental grounds “is noteworthy at a time when we all need to consider the enormous changes that will be required to challenge climate change”.

In other news today, Marks & Spencer Money has been voted best credit card and life insurance provider at the annual Your Money Direct Awards.

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