Our theme Think Global, Act Local, Get Equal is all about economic equality. One aspect of this topic that affects us all is banking: banks invest your money—mostly in big business and other banks & financial institutions.
Who is looking after your money, and how much do you know about what they do with it?
Since the 1980s governments have encouraged banks to take risks and generate big profits. In 2007/8 this led to a financial crisis, and LloydsTSB and RBS were given large amounts of public money to keep them afloat. Since then, government and the banks have done little to change the system.
But it wasn’t always like this. In the 16th & 17th centuries several Quakers went into banking – becoming successful because of their reputation for honesty and fair dealing. Lloyds and Barclays were founded by Quakers.
Unfortunately, today they are owned by private shareholders, and have lost their Quaker values. But other ethical options for looking after your money have taken their place, including:
- Credit Unions
- Building Societies
- Ethical Banks
Pop into Peace Hub this March & April to check out how ethical (or not) your current bank is. Then pledge to make your money work for good: by asking your bank to change their policy, or by considering a more ethical option.
Always seek independent financial advice before buying any financial product.
If all that sounds a bit complicated – don’t worry! We’ve got simple questions to ask your current bank about their policies on a range of ethical issues, including:
- the arms trade
- climate change
- tax avoidance
- high-risk financial speculation
- ‘financially excluded’ people
We can have a chat and help you think through which issues are most important to you, and how together we can start holding the banking system to account. After all, it’s our money they are investing!