Template:Redir Template:For2 Template:Infobox Co-operative The Co-operative Bank plc is a commercial bank trading as The Co-operative Bank in the United Kingdom and Guernsey, with headquarters in Manchester. It is an ethical bank, and refuses to invest in companies involved in the arms trade, global climate change, genetic engineering, animal testing and use of sweated labour as stated in its ethical policy. The ethical policy was introduced in 1992.[1] In 2002 the Co-operative Group brought the bank and Co-operative Insurance Society under the control of a newly incorporated holding society, Co-operative Financial Services Limited.


File:Stockport Pyramid.jpg

The Bank was formed in 1872 as the Loan and Deposit Department of Manchester's Co-operative Wholesale Society. In 1876 it became the CWS Bank.

Over the years the Bank has gained a reputation for introducing innovations later adopted by the rest of the industry. Since 1974 the Co-operative Bank has consistently offered free banking for personal customers who remain in credit. It was also the first Clearing Bank to offer an interest bearing cheque account called Cheque & Save, in 1982. In 1991 the Bank shook the credit card market when it introduced a guaranteed "free for life" Gold Visa card.


In this instance, the Co-operative Bank is wholly-owned by Co-operative Financial Services Ltd, whose sole shareholder is the (member-owned) Co-operative Group. [2] Members of The Co-operative Group are also entitled to earn dividend on their account holdings and borrowing with the Bank.[3]


Main article: smile (bank)

The Bank launched a separate internet-only operation known as smile in 1999, which, according to surveys, has the highest satisfaction ratings among UK banks and has received many awards in recent years for customer service and online banking.[4] It has around half-a-million customers. smile has its call centre based at a unique pyramid building in Stockport.

Independent Financial AdviceEdit

The Co-operative Bank offers whole of market independent financial advice (IFA) through Co-operative Bank Independent Financial Advisers (CBFA). CBFA are based about 500 yards from the Co-operative Bank "Pyramid" in Regent House, Stockport. CBFA offers independent advice mainly on investment, retirement and Inheritance Tax planning. CBFA has over 100 advisers across the UK, incorporating specialists in Complex Pensions and Corporate Financial Planning. CBFA currently has around 70,000 clients across the UK made up of clients with links to the bank, and through there extensive seminar programme held at venues up and down the country.

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While the bank, like any other, is run on profitable lines, it does occasionally turn away new business which it feels may compromise its ethical policies. In the 2005/06 financial year, whilst making profits of £96.5 million, it turned away business of nearly £10 million.[5]

In June 2005, the bank closed the account of a Christian evangelical group (Christian Voice) because of its homophobic standpoint. They said the group was "incompatible with the position of the Co-operative Bank, which publicly supports diversity and dignity". Christian Voice said the bank was discriminating against it on religious grounds.[6] Gay Times subsequently selected the Co-operative Bank for its Ethical Corporate Stance Award.[7]


A much smaller US thrift institution,The Cooperative Bank in Roslindale, Massachusetts (a neighbourhood of Boston), shares a similar name (without the hyphen) which it adopted in 1998 on the merger of Roslindale Cooperative Bank with Charlestown Cooperative Bank.[8] As of 2008, it is one of approximately 60 state-chartered co-operative banks in Massachusetts, which unusually among the 50 United States, maintains some legal and regulatory distinctions between three categories of community banking institutions: mutual savings banks, co-operative banks and credit unions.

References Edit


Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Template:UK banks Template:Co-operative Groupnl:Co-operative Bank

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