Ethical bank Triodos to launch first current account

Ethical lender Triodos today said it was opening registrations for its first personal current account in the UK.

Beavis Watts, UK managing director at Triodos. Picture: Contributed

The Dutch-owned bank, which opened an Edinburgh office in 2006 and only lends to organisations and projects that make a “positive difference to society”, said the phased roll-out of the account, which carries a monthly fee of £3, will begin in June.

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UK managing director Bevis Watts said: “Our new personal current account brings an inspiring new option to the UK current account market, which we believe is dysfunctional and is obviously dominated by a small number of large banks.

“We want people to really think about what their bank is doing with their money. Money doesn’t have to be invested in the arms trade, fossil fuels and tobacco – it can be used to do good things that help build the society we want to live in.”

A spokesman said Triodos has financed 130 projects in Scotland, with sustainable energy accounting for more than two-thirds of its total £107 million lending north of the Border.

In recognition of its environmental stance, the lender’s customers will receive an eco-friendly debit card made from a renewable alternative to plastic.

Head of retail banking Huw Davies said the bank, which already operates current accounts in the Netherlands, Germany and Spain, was “leading by example” with its £3 monthly fee.

He added: “There is no such thing as ‘free’ banking because someone else always pays. ‘Free’ accounts are usually subsidised with high penalty charges and hidden fees, so the most vulnerable customers, or those making a rare miscalculation with the household finances, end up paying an exorbitant price.”

The move by Triodos comes as new data shows that more current account customers have been ditching and switching their bank following a wave of providers cutting rates or reducing perks on their accounts.

Some 248,302 switches took place between January and March, according to payments body Bacs, which oversees the current account switch service. This was higher than the 208,387 switches that took place between October and December 2016.

In total, more than 3.7 million current accounts have been switched since the seven-day service to make it easier for customers to ditch and switch was launched in September 2013.