Green banking – what are YOU waiting for?

One bank scandal after another.
Collapsing banks.
Bankrupt banks in the Financial Crisis.
Leading to the Economic Crisis.
…This is nothing new.

But the many banking scandals in the past few years had an effect on the people: the scandals made it harder and harder for them to trust their banks. Can I be sure that my savings will not be used for supporting the armament industry, or child labour, or food speculation or environmental damaging things? No, sadly we cannot be sure.
They important key word for this issue is transparency: because transparency, which is essential, does not seem to exist.

According to the Inter Press Service News Agency,

“inceasing numbers of dissatisfied customers want to know what happens to their money, and are opting for more alternative financial services which are growing in spite of the econimic crisis.”

The mentioned alternative financial services are also known as green / ethical / social / sustainable banking.

It seems like green banking is the perfect answer for all the people who are disillusioned with traditional banking.
And that again sounds so great and easy – but where’s the catch?

The answer to that might be shown with a recent research conducted by ICM: According to them it is not surprising that 82% of 2000 consumers surveyed think that their bank does not follow their best interest but rather the interest of themselves. ICM also states that only 6% are of the opinion that their bank is trustworthy and an even lower percentage of the consumers would recommend their bank.
The interesting numbers are to come: Although people are mistrusting their banks and are everything else than happy about all the banking scancals, only 15% people were prepared to switch the provider, says ICM.

Green banking is transparent and trustworthy – everyone could change to a green bank. But why are most of the people still sitting on their hands and do nothing?

There are several possible answers: Andy McQueen, a marketing expert who thinks that the ICM’s point of view regarding green banks is too negative, considers that people are not well-informed and they assume that banks for current savings accounts are all the same. This is what Adam Harris, the function leader of marketing and communications of the Co-operative Bank comments:

“The negative press about the banking industry is a massive challenge for us. […] it’s [green banking] more than just ethics, it’s about being socially responsible too. We have turned down over £1 billion of investment because it’s not ethical and we tell our customers this.”

The decisive point is the communication! Even though it seems to be a big challenge, green banks have to try their hardest to draw the attention of people to them. Consequently, more people would know exactly that there are green alternatives and would consider swtching.