UK demands more transparency from banks

Three quarters of UK adults believe banks should be more transparent about what they do with their customers’ money, according to research from challenger bank Triodos.
The results show an increased awareness of ethical savings and investments at a time when the financial sector is under increased scrutiny, and a shift in consumer attitudes on climate change.
  • 76 per cent of respondents said that banks should be more transparent about their investments
  • 50 per cent said that it should be standard practice for banks to make their customers aware of where their money is being invested or lent
  • 55 per cent believe banks do not provide enough information on sustainability
Emphasising a rising demand for openness, one in two (50 per cent) consumers also claim it should be standard practice for customers to be made aware of where their money is being invested or lent. Only three per cent said they don’t think it’s necessary for banks to disclose this information.
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about how their savings and investments can affect the climate, and most (55 per cent) believe financial institutions do not provide them with enough information on the issue.
The same proportion (55 per cent) said that the environmental events that dominated news headlines in 2015 – including the Volkswagen emissions scandal, flooding in England and the Paris Climate Summit – have shown that more needs to be done to mitigate effects of climate change.
Huw Davies, head of retail banking at Triodos, said: “The desire to know how funds are being used symbolises a shift in consumer awareness that investments can impact society for better or worse. Banks must respond to this increased awareness by becoming more transparent, enabling their customers to make informed decisions about their finances. Customers have the right to know more about how banks use the money they entrust with them.”
The research also suggested that customers would act if they were dissatisfied with the way their banks use their money. Nearly half of consumers (45 per cent) claim they would move their money away from their current bank or financial institution if they found the funds were being invested in companies that conflicted with their personal interests
Davies added: “Greater transparency in financial services would allow customers more opportunity to scrutinise banks on their actions. Ultimately this could create an environment where financiers have more incentive to consider the wider impact of their lending and investment decisions.”