This Valentine’s Day, consider breaking up with your bad boy bank to search for a more sustainable soulmate.
If you hold an account with one of the ‘Big 5’ (and 63 per cent of Brits do), then you need to know that your bank has been having a dangerous liaison – with fossil fuels.
In the last 12 months alone, Barclays, HSBC, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds have provided $37 billion (£29.3 billion) to oil and gas companies, which are driving climate change.
After decades of having the chance to change, these banks haven’t. Not enough, anyway.
So we’re here to help you move your money to a bank or building society that supports your environmental values.
1. Tell your bank why you’re leaving
It’s a good idea to let your bank know in writing why they’re losing you. This way, hopefully they can do better in the future. If you simply switch without doing this, they might think it’s because of poor service, or that you’ve been enticed by another bank’s offer.
Make My Money Matter has a useful a template letter that you can send before you switch. Just pick your bank’s name, fill in your details, and let your bank know they must stop financing fossil fuel expansion. The letters are separately formatted for each of the major banks, telling them exactly what they’re doing wrong and how they need to change.
The letter asks the bank to engage in good corporate behaviour and end its dangerous relationship with fossil fuels – or, face ending its relationship with its customers instead.
2. Choose a better banking partner
Ethical banks and building societies avoid investing in environmentally harmful or otherwise unethical industries. A minority – such as Triodos Bank – go much further by investing your money to make a positive impact on the planet and society.
See our top 7 ethical current accounts in 2024 to find your perfect match.
And don’t worry, moving on doesn’t have to be messy. The Current Account Switching Service takes care of transferring all your direct debits to your new account and closing your old one, so it’s easier than ever to move your money for Good.
3. Look at the bigger picture
Moving your current account is one thing, but you can make an even bigger positive impact by shifting your savings, pensions and investments to financial institutions that are aiming to build a more sustainable global economy:
For investments, see our top fossil fuel-free investment funds and Good Guide to Impact Investing. The latest Good Investment Review is also a great resource for the top-rated sustainable investment funds.
For ethical financial providers you can trust to look after you and your money, check out our Good Egg firms.
4. Tell others!
Don’t keep your break-up quiet – tell your friends. The more people who leave their toxic bank for a greener alternative, the more positive impact it will make on the climate.