The Fixer: The Co-operative Bank

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Have you been left out of pocket due to poor service or sharp practice? Do you have a money problem that won't go away?

It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.


Dear Fixer,
I have a current account with the Co-operative Bank. I took the account out because I wanted to use an ethical bank.

However, I am getting increasingly worried about the bank now that it is mostly owned by hedge funds and keeps saying that it is losing money.

Is my money safe? And is the bank really the ethical choice or is it just like all the others?

D Foster, Brighton

Dear Ms Foster,

The Co-operative Bank has certainly had its fair share of scandals over the past year, and announced just a few days ago that it needs to raise another £400 million by issuing new shares.

The funds are needed to cover costs relating to PPI mis-selling, mortgage payments, interest rate swaps and "technical breaches of the Consumer Credit Act" - none of which sounds particularly ethical to me.

That said, the bank has a new management team and argues that this cash call is due to its desire to ensure it has an appropriate capital buffer to protect customers.

Last year, it also set out its principles in writing to reassure worried customers.

"The bank's constitution includes a commitment to act in line with the principles and values associated with the co-operative movement and we have established a Values and Ethics Committee to ensure that we adhere to them," it said.

Should the worst happen and the bank go bust, you could also call on the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects deposits of up to £85,000 (or £170,000 for joint accounts).

However, as Co-operative Bank shares its banking licence with Britannia and Smile, it may be sensible to ensure that you personally have no more than £85,000 in accounts with those three banks.

The Fixer