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4 things to look for in your new bank

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4 things to look for in your new bank

Published: July 30, 2015

Choosing a new bank for an organisation that works for the social or environmental good and has a commitment to the double bottom line goes deeper than interest rates and financial performance. There are other issues that every charity, credit union, Community Interest Company and social enterprise needs to take into account:

Ethical banking practices

Whilst being a core component of the business function of a bank and one you may never have contact with, banks rely heavily on generating a return on financial investment. It’s all too easy to be unfamiliar with a bank’s choice of investment portfolio but given that your deposited funds is the medium used to carry out such investment, you should be looking for a promise that you won’t be contributing to illicit or unethical practices.

Stable track record

We only have to look back to just before the turn of the decade when a mainstream high street bank failed to meet customer demands for their own money. You need a bank that isn’t going to put your organisation at risk by denying access to your own funds. Working for a positive social benefit and proactive, intelligent cash flow management are not mutually exclusive.

Customer services

It goes without saying that customer service is important, but this is more than a polite voice answering the phone. Good customer service includes having staff that understand why your organisation is different and why you need certain answers now. Many high street banks understand the profit incentive of small business owners, but do they understand the statutory obligations that relate to a trade union’s financial reporting?

Suitable fee structure

Fees are unavoidable and every bank will charge them. But you should be asking yourself if there’s a fee structure that suits you and your particular banking activities. Is there an account that takes into consideration the fact that your organisation receives every remittance as a cheque or that you need to withdraw large amounts of cash at very short notice regularly?