Unity is the bank that businesses can be proud to bank with. For over 35 years we have been helping organisations to prosper and contribute to positive economic, social and environmental change. Put simply, our purpose is to create a better society.
As an award-winning independent bank, we only lend to organisations that share our values and support local communities. We have a loyal and growing business banking customer base which increased by a further seven per cent during 2020, and our ambition is to become the bank of choice for all socially-minded organisations in the UK.
Against a backdrop of Covid-19, Brexit disruption and historically low interest rates, Unity remains financially strong and operationally resilient, growing by over 25 per cent year on year. We will continue to pursue safe, sustainable growth into the future.
We’re also proud that throughout the pandemic, our UK-based teams have maintained our high levels of customer service while working remotely, by continuing to resolve more than 98 per cent of queries first time.
Here are some of the practical ways we deliver impact:
- Lending – we are committed to helping small and medium-sized UK businesses to grow; this includes creating training and employment opportunities, enabling the provision of health care services and providing housing for vulnerable people.
- Real Living Wage – we’re proud to be the first bank to be Living Wage accredited and pay the Real Living Wage. We also hold Investors in People Gold Standard and are a Signatory of the Women in Finance Charter.
- Fair Tax – we value transparency and have pioneered fair tax practices via the Fair Tax campaign, being the first bank to be accredited the Fair Tax Mark back in 2014.
- Carbon literate – we are the first Carbon Literate Bank, achieving a bronze award for improving our carbon footprint.
- Volunteering – we offer all of our employees up to five paid days a year to help their communities.
- Employee Ownership – we empower our people with the opportunity to own shares in their business.
- Apprenticeships – we have welcomed 13 young people on to our scheme since 2012.
Unity Trust Bank was launched on May 1, 1984. It was born out of a vision by trade unions to create a bank that would embrace the philosophy of serving the common good. While now an independent organisation, Unity Trust Bank continues to embody its original principles:
- Unity’s first mission was to provide prudent, profitable commercial lending in the UK and to support jobs, industries and the British economy.
- The first few years were spent developing banking facilities for our trade union shareholders and providing additional services specifically to benefit their members.
- During the 1990s we refocused as society became increasingly concerned with fighting social and financial exclusion, tailoring our products and services to meet the needs of socially-minded organisations.
- In 2012, we committed to a ‘double-bottom line’ strategy; assessing sustainable financial returns alongside social impact.
- In December 2015, Unity became a fully independent bank.
- In April 2016, we joined the Banking Standards Board, demonstrating our commitment to helping to raise standards across the banking industry.
Unity in the Community
To celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2009, we launched our Unity in the Community initiative. This gives every employee up to five paid days per year to take part in volunteering and fundraising for charities and community organisations across the UK.
Not only does this benefit local communities and the people they support, it also provides valuable practical experience for our team, which enhances their understanding and knowledge of the social economy sector.
As well as being socially responsible, we are financially sustainable. Whilst profit is not our principal driver, it’s still important that we operate effectively to enable us to re-invest in the business and leverage our financial strength to provide a return for our shareholders.
We have never traded in sub-prime investments or the complex financial instruments that have resulted in difficulties for many banks. The loans we provide are supported by customer deposits which makes us financially stable and less vulnerable to fluctuations in the money markets.
High levels of customer satisfaction
We’re committed to providing high levels of customer service. More than 60% of new customers join us following a recommendation from an existing Unity customer:
- You’ll always talk to a person when you call us, not an automated message.
- All of our teams are based in the UK.
- More than 98% of telephone queries are dealt with by the person that initially answers your call.