Since the 2008 global banking crisis, the reputation of the financial sector has been really damaged.
The banking industry is probably the most looked down upon sector of our economy these days.
There are however banks that try to act more ethically, notably these are mutuals and building societies such as the Co-operative bank, Nationwide and NFU.
Ethical consumerism has taken on a more mainstream appeal. Especially after years of mismanagement being screened into our living rooms by the news: the credit crunch, the LIBOR rate scandal, RBS continued system failures, and more.
The dominance of the main high street banks is seemingly impossible to sever. Indeed 90 per cent of accounts are held by Barclays, Lloyds TSB (which is now Lloyds bank and TSB), RBS and HSBC.
However the range of products provided by ethical lenders has increased tenfold since the financial crisis and can match even the most pervasive of high street bank.
If you don’t want a bank, ethical or otherwise, then you should consider a credit union. Credit unions are non-profit alternatives to banking and you will probably have a local or regional one such as London Mutual.
Building societies are also a great alternative. Nationwide for example is owned entirely by its shareholders. They generally offer cheaper mortgages and better interest rates as well as their more ethical approach to financial services.
Indeed, credit unions and building societies also offer competitive rates. Interestingly too they often offer better loans to those on lower incomes than high street banks—they’re the perfect alternative to a payday loan.
The best thing about ethical banks is that they generally offer a better safe than sorry principle. Ethical consumerism has a very strong future in the financial sector.
With the environment degrading and the social implications of the 2008 financial crisis still evident, ethical banking can only get more popular.