Tandem Bank says it is building ‘the UK’s greener digital bank’ – one that enables its customers to save, borrow and spend more sustainably.
But what exactly is it that makes Tandem “greener” than other digital or high street banks?
The bank’s Chief Impact and Marketing Officer Georgina Whalley talked to Good With Money about its mission to help UK consumers make better, greener financial choices.
What does Tandem offer?
Although Tandem is a fully-regulated bank, having acquired Harrods Bank in 2017, it doesn’t offer its own current account. Instead, it offers a range of finance options – including savings accounts, personal loans, green home improvement loans, first and second charge mortgages, and motor finance – which are designed to work in ‘tandem’ with people’s lives.
It has also recently launched the Tandem marketplace to provide information on how to make homes greener and reduce energy bills.
Tandem launched in 2014 as a digital challenger bank aiming to compete with the likes of Starling and Monzo. It wasn’t until 2020, when it bought green home improvements loan provider Allium, that it shifted focus towards becoming a “greener bank.”
As of November 2022, Tandem has issued more than £400 million in green loans helping people to make energy-saving home improvements that have reduced carbon emissions by 49,000 metric tonnes in 2022 alone. This is equivalent to the energy use of 6,172 homes for one year.
In January 2022, Tandem bought consumer lending firm Oplo and launched an ‘EPC discount’ on second charge mortgages for new customers with an EPC (energy performance certificate) rating of A, B or C.
Whalley said: “Tandem has gone through something of an evolution in recent years, having acquired Allium and Oplo. We are working on integrating these businesses into one brand, one bank. We’re here to make it easier for more people to choose a greener lifestyle and through our savings and lending products we help UK consumers to save, borrow and spend a little bit greener.”
Starting with savings
Tandem’s lending business is powered by its savings accounts – the Instant Access Saver and Fixed Savers.
Whalley said: “People may be drawn to Tandem because of our competitive savings rates, but we also want to give them the feel good factor that their money is being used to make a positive difference. The money held in Tandem savings accounts is used solely to fund our lending products which means helping more people make greener choices. Because it is not invested, we can guarantee that our customers’ money is not helping to fund fossil fuel extraction and production or similar destructive industries.
“Tandem’s green home improvement loans contribute to a healthier planet and can help homeowners to save money on their bills over the long term, and our personal loans give hard-working people access to finance. Meanwhile our EPC mortgages reward customers who own energy-efficient homes.”
Tandem recently added a marketplace to help its customers make greener choices to power and heat their homes. Whalley said: “We have a strong network of trusted providers of everything from solar panels and boilers to air source heat pumps and windows and doors. Tandem can then provide the finance to help our customers make these improvements.”
Whalley said Tandem is working on providing a “richer customer journey” where they can view the energy rating of their home and take actions to improve it.
She said: “The cost-of-living crisis has put home energy front of mind for most people. We aim to debunk the theory that putting in energy-saving (and planet-friendly) measures is an expensive option. For example, the rising cost of energy means that if you’re able to invest in solar panels, the time it takes to start saving money is getting much shorter.”
Tandem also offers motor finance with the aim of supporting customers to make the switch to an electric car or newer secondhand model with lower carbon emissions.
A greener financial ecosystem
Whalley said Tandem is building a financial ecosystem for people to save, borrow and spend more sustainably. She said: “We’re aiming to expand our product offering in the near future. So watch this space!”
This article is in partnership with Tandem Bank.