‘Best British Bank’ award goes to LEAST ethical – again

Written by Lori Campbell on 14th May 2024

The coveted title of ‘Best British Bank’ has gone to digital bank Chase for the second year running – 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 JPMorgan Chase – claimed top honours at the ceremony in London on Thursday, securing the title of Best British Bank as well as Best Current Account Provider.

World’s top funder of climate change

The awards coincided with the release of the latest Banking on Climate Chaos report, which exposes JPMorgan Chase as the world’s biggest funder of climate change. JPMorgan Chase tops the report’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ table for 2023 as the world’s number one financier of fossil fuels.

While banks and investment firms are being urged to cut finance to destructive industries, JPMorgan Chase is INCREASING its contributions. Last year it upped its financing for fossil fuels – by far the biggest driver of climate change – from $38.7 billion (£30.8 billion) in 2022 to $40.8 billion (£32.4 billion).

The banking heavyweight is also a prolific funder of tar sands companies, pumping an astonishing $10.4 billion (£8.28 billion) into the industry since the Paris Agreement on climate change was signed in 2016. Tar sands extraction emits up to three times more global warming pollution than producing the same quantity of conventional crude oil. It is also linked to higher rates of cancer in Indigenous communities, according to Greenpeace.

‘A brand to avoid’

The British Banking Awards are voted for by banking customers, who have given Chase the top award for the second year in a row.

Green banking and climate campaigners 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.

Bank.Green says: “While you’ve been saving money for a house or a weekend getaway, JPMorgan Chase has been using your savings to provide financial support to some very questionable fossil fuel friends. And it’s not just a little here and there; we’re talking about $434.2 billion (£345.8 billion) in the seven years since 197 countries agreed to drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the Paris Agreement.”

Ethical Consumer magazine gives the Chase current account a “red” (worst) rating due to its poor record on the environment as well as on financial issues such as director pay and tax avoidance. The not-for-profit co-operative gives a recommendation that Chase is a “brand to avoid”.

Top 7 ethical current accounts in 2024

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 third year running.

Bevis Watts, chief executive of Triodos Bank UK, said: “Our customers are real advocates for Triodos and what we stand for – offering sustainable financial products and excellent customer service, all while influencing the banking sector to become more transparent, diverse and sustainable. Once again, they’ve gone above and beyond to vote for us and we’re proud to be recognised as Best Ethical Financial Provider and shortlisted in eight categories. A big thank you to them for their continued support.”

Top 9 ethical savings accounts in 2024

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, value for money and whether they felt fairly treated. Over 150,000 people voted in this year’s awards.

In their reviews, customers highlighted Triodos Bank’s ethical credentials, its customer service and the ease of managing their money through the banking app or online.

Jacqueline Dewey, CEO of Smart Money People, said: “Triodos Bank’s dedication to purpose-driven banking underlines why it has won best ethical financial provider for the third year running. Our reviews consistently highlight Triodos’ transparent practices, genuine commitment to sustainability, and robust support for socially responsible initiatives. Whether investing in renewable energy projects or championing fair trade, Triodos garners praise for aligning its business with ethical values. Congratulations Triodos Bank.”

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