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Co-operative Bank reviews basic bank account

17th September 2012 Print

In response to a lack of positive industry action on the issue of basic banking, The Co-operative Bank has announced a change to its basic bank account - Cashminder, for new customers.

With immediate effect (from September 17, 2012) the bank is no longer accepting new customers who are un-discharged bankrupts, this decision does not affect the bank's existing customers.

Explaining this change in more detail, John Hughes, Managing Director of Retail Banking at The Co-operative Bank comments: "Across the industry there has long been an un-level playing field in the provision of basic bank accounts, with our bank doing far more than most and we have been calling for some time for this to be addressed.

Unfortunately it has now come to the stage where our disproportionate market share of the basic bank account market has continued to grow significantly, and regretfully, we now need to take steps to address this."

For a number of years now The Co-operative Bank has been only one of two providers in the market who offer bank accounts to un-discharged bankrupts. Whilst the bank will no longer be opening new accounts for un-discharged bankrupts, it remains fully committed to working with existing customers who find themselves in financial difficulty.

Commenting further, John Hughes adds: "The Co-operative Bank recognises the importance of access to a bank account to enable people to participate actively in modern life, this is an issue that we have raised persistently in an attempt to encourage all providers to act equally.  As a responsibly led business, over the years we have worked tirelessly to promote access to banking, for example by providing bank accounts to some of the most financially excluded groups such as prisoners, as we do believe that banks should play their part in offering people a fresh start.

However it is now time that all providers acted equally on this issue. Whilst we have had to make immediate changes to address our disproportionate market share, we remain committed to financial inclusion and are willing to lead the way in calling for current account providers, consumer groups and policy makers to work together to introduce a sustainable approach for basic banking that provides consumers with access to appropriate accounts and services.

Looking ahead we will closely monitor the industry to strike a balance between our commitment to tackling financial exclusion whilst also ensuring we operate in a sustainable manner that maintains our competitive position as a genuine alternative in the market. If the market changes and measures are introduced to ensure that all account providers, including new entrants, genuinely perform on this issue, we will review our decision."