Digital bank Chase has been crowned “Best British Bank” at the British Bank Awards 2023 despite its parent company being the least ethical provider in the world.
The event, hosted by Smart Money People, brings together industry leaders to recognise excellence in the banking sector.
Chase – a UK-based retail bank owned by US giant JP Morgan Chase – claimed top honours at the ceremony in London, securing the title of Best British Bank as well as Best Savings Provider and Best Current Account Provider.
The result, which is voted for by banking customers, has shocked green banking and climate campaigners. They are urging consumers to make the connection between Chase and its parent company’s relationship with fossil fuel funding and switch to a greener bank.
‘Best British Bank at investing in climate breakdown’
In the six years since the crucial Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2016, JP Morgan Chase has topped the global list of fossil fuel bankers, funnelling a staggering $434 billion (£347 billion) into the industry. According to Bank.Green, it was also the world’s first funder of oil and gas extraction in the Amazon rainforest.
Last year, Ethical Consumer magazine gave the Chase current account a “red” (worst) rating due to its poor record on the the environment as well as on financial issues such as director pay and tax avoidance. The not-for-profit co-operative gave a recommendation that Chase is a “brand to avoid”.
Sophie Cowen, Founder and Campaign Director of green banking website switchit.green told Good With Money: “It’s clear that ‘Best British Bank’ must mean ‘Best British Bank at investing in climate breakdown’. Chase bank is by far the world’s best investor in fossil fuels, having invested a horrifying $434 billion (£347 billion) in fossil fuel projects since 2017, including Exxon Mobil and Shell PLC.
“They are also Best at financing projects that exploit indigenous land and cut through communities, such as the Trans Mountain and Keystone XL pipelines. They are clearly the Best British Bank at ignoring both the irrefutable climate science and their responsibilities as financial leaders. I hope Chase’s customers will recognise the destruction being done in their name and switch to a green bank.”
The result marks the first time in five years that neither Monzo or Starling Bank have taken the coveted title of Best British Bank, although they did secure their own triumphs. Monzo was recognised as the Best Banking App and also received accolades for being the Best Credit Card Provider. Starling Bank was named the Best Business Banking Provider.
Triodos Bank wins Best Ethical Financial Provider
Meanwhile, sustainable bank Triodos – a Good With Money ‘Good Egg’ company – took the award for ‘Best Ethical Financial Provider’ for the second year running.
Bevis Watts, chief executive of Triodos Bank UK, said: “Let’s not forget that banks have a critical role to play in addressing issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and inequality. They can make conscious decisions about what they finance. Thankfully more and more people are realising this fact and now switching to banks with greener credentials.
“For us sustainability and ethics have always been central to who we are and everything we do has a focus on these positive values. We’re immensely grateful to all our customers who provided reviews with Smart Money People to help us win this award for the second year in a row.”
Triodos Bank, a B-Corp company, focuses on making money work for positive change and uses customers’ deposits to provide a range of finance and tailored support to progressive companies, social enterprises and charities making an impact, both from an environmental and social perspective. Its range of services includes current accounts, investments and savings.
The Banking awards are determined by customers voting for their favourite product provider by leaving them a rating out of five and then a review on the Smart Money People website. They also ask them to give a rating for customer service, NPS, value for money and whether they felt fairly treated. Over 150,000 people voted in this year’s awards.
Customers who voted in this year’s awards described Triodos Bank as ‘exemplary’ for its transparency and praised the bank’s ethical approach to lending, as well as its friendly customer service.
Jacqueline Dewey, CEO of Smart Money People, said: “It is no surprise to see Triodos Bank has been awarded best ethical financial provider, since the bank is a leading expert in sustainable banking. Across its three ethical products: Cash ISAs, Stocks and Shares ISAs and Investments, our reviews show Triodos customers have praised the bank for being value-aligned, serving both the planet and its communities.
“With a high priority on transparency, Triodos Bank customers can see exactly what projects their money is supporting through regular newsletters. In our reviews we can see many customers have also cited Triodos Bank’s responsive and efficient customer service. Congratulations Triodos Bank on a well-deserved win.”