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Independence from The Co-operative Bank, Successful Capital Raising, New Constitution

Press Releases Published: December 16, 2015 2:25 pm

Unity Trust Bank (“Unity” or “the Bank”), which brings a fresh approach to banking and an ethical alternative, today announces a number of key developments:

  • The buy-back of the majority of The Co-operative Bank plc’s shares in Unity
  • New Articles of Association that combine shares into one class and enshrine Unity’s social purpose
  • The successful issue of new shares that provides additional capital for growth

Unity is proud of its successful track record. Founded by the main UK trade unions in 1984, it is a challenger bank for small to medium sized businesses and organisations that create economic, community, social or environmental benefit in the UK. It can now better serve more such organisations. In doing so, Unity aims to deliver both social and economic benefit and good returns for its shareholders.  This is Unity’s ‘double bottom–line’ approach.

Prior to today’s announcement, The Co-operative Bank plc (“TCB”) owned 26.7% of Unity through its subsidiary, Co-operative Commercial Limited. Unity has entered into an agreement with Co-operative Commercial Limited, whereby Co-operative Commercial Limited has sold shares to Unity, to reduce its holding to 6.7%. Unity is funding this from its existing resources. Unity’s new Articles of Association redesignate all shares into a single class, all ranking pari passu, and remove the different rights of the old classes. As a result, TCB will no longer have a controlling interest in Unity or the right to appoint directors.

The new Articles also enshrine Unity’s social purpose so that a majority of 75% of shareholders are required to make changes.  These commitments are set out in the Notes to Editors below.

Unity sees considerable demand for an ethical bank from businesses and organisations with more than just a financial purpose themselves. To finance expansion, Unity today announced the successful raising of £8 million of new capital from existing and new shareholders to support growth.

Chairman Alan Hughes said:

“Today’s announcements represent the most significant changes to Unity since the Bank was founded thirty years ago.  We are now an independent bank, with a new Board, new leadership and the capacity to grow.   Our commitment to delivering a double bottom-line of both social and economic benefit is now enshrined in our constitution.  Demand for a bank with a social conscience is stronger then ever and I am delighted we have attracted additional capital to be able to meet it. ”


Notes to editors

Unity Trust Bank

Unity Trust Bank was founded in 1984. Unity is a bank for organisations and businesses that create economic, social, community or environmental benefits in a way that is financially sustainable. The Bank seeks to put social benefit at the heart of everything it does. It provides tailored day-to-day banking and finance to charities, social enterprises, co-operatives, CICs, voluntary and community organisations, trade unions, councils, housing associations and commercial businesses. Over 20,000 organisations bank with Unity. In 2014 the Bank’s lending helped to create and protect 3,423 jobs in the UK.

The market in which Unity operates is growing, with an increase in demand for financial assistance from businesses and organisations with more than just a financial purpose themselves.  A survey conducted by Social Enterprise UK found that 48% of such enterprises sought to raise external finance in 2013, but 39% of social enterprises felt there was a lack of access to funding.*

Unity Trust Bank is a Living Wage accredited employer, it is the first bank to be so which illustrates Unity’s commitment to its employees. It also holds the Fair Tax Mark in recognition of its fair and transparent accounting approach.

For more information, visit:

* Social Enterprise UK: State of Social Enterprise Survey 2013, p.57.


Unity Trust Bank plc – Proposed New Articles, Articles 2.2-2.4

“2.2 The purpose of the Company is:

(a) To be the bank with a social conscience

(b) to provide banking services to viable organisations, sole traders or individuals that contribute community, economic, social or environmental benefit to society, including, but not limited to, Trade Unions, co-operatives, charitable and commercial enterprises; and

(c) to achieve sustainable returns for itself and its members as well as a social benefit.

This is described as a “double bottom line” approach to all business the Company does.

2.3 Having been founded by Trade Unions the Company will continue to support Trade Unions and the Trade Union movement in the United Kingdom and elsewhere as part of this.

2.4 In conducting the business of the Company, the Directors will:

(a) be prudent stewards of the Company’s resources;

(b) act in the long term interests of its members, staff and customers; and

(c) promote the values of the Company so that all staff:

(i) act with respect, integrity and a good conscience;

(ii) treat customers fairly, with openness, honesty and transparency in all dealings;

(iii) supporting community, economic, social and environmental development; and

(iv) value teamwork.

For further information, please contact Unity Trust Bank’s PR consultants:


Ben Foster

020 3603 5220

* Social Enterprise UK: State of Social Enterprise Survey 2013, p.57.


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