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Who we are

Unity is the bank you can be proud to bank with. We help organisations to prosper and contribute to economic, community and social change. Put simply, we’re here to help create a better society.

All of our funding comes from customer accounts and we benefit from a loyal, growing customer base. We use the deposits our customers entrust to us to fund lending which supports the communities we collectively serve.

We joined the Banking Standards Board in April 2016, demonstrating our commitment to helping to raise standards across the banking industry. We were visited by the BSB in late 2016 to discuss how we were doing this.

Here are some of the practical ways we deliver impact: 

  • Lending –  we focus the use of our customers’ deposits to fund lending where there are clear social impacts creating jobs and supporting local communities
  • Real Living Wage – we’re proud to be the first bank to be Living Wage accredited and pay the Real Living Wage
  • 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
  • Staff Volunteering – we offer all our staff five paid days a year to volunteer in local communities
  • Staff Ownership – we empower our people with the opportunity to own shares in the business
  • Apprenticeships – we’ve welcomed thirteen young people on to our scheme since 2012

Our history

Unity Trust Bank was born out of a vision to create a bank that would serve the needs of its customers and enrich society as a whole. Aligned to the values of trade unions, Unity Trust Limited, as we were then known, was launched on the 1st May 1984.

  • In 1984 our first mission was to make prudent, profitable commercial lending in the UK thereby supporting 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 trade unions and their members through a number of subsidiary businesses
  • During the 1990s we refocused as society became increasingly concerned with fighting social and financial exclusion, which Unity Trust Bank supported by tailoring its products and services towards social organisations
  • At the start of the new millennium, Unity Trust Bank continued to innovate with the introduction of internet banking
  • In 2012, we committed to a new ‘double-bottom line’ strategy, assessing sustainable financial returns alongside social impact
  • In December 2015, we became a fully independent bank
  • Today Unity Trust Bank remains true to its founding principles and its ambition is to grow and become the bank of choice for socially minded organisations in the UK

Unity in the Community

To celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2009, we launched our Unity in the Community initiative. This gives each member of staff five paid volunteering 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 the staff, which enhances their understanding and knowledge of the social economy sector.

Financial Sustainability

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, leverage our financial strength and 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 make are supported by customer deposits, all of which makes us less vulnerable to fluctuations in the money markets and financially stable.

High levels of customer satisfaction

We’re committed to providing high levels of customer service that will keep our customers satisfied, now and in the future:

  • You’ll always talk to a person when you call us, not an automated message
  • All our teams are based in the UK
  • Over 90% of telephone queries are dealt with by the person that initially answers your call
  • We aim to answer your call within 20 seconds

Switching made simple

By switching your bank account to Unity you’ll be helping to create a better society.  You’ll also benefit from 24/7 access to your account using our Internet Banking service.

Our free account switcher service makes the process as easy as possible:

  • We’ll close your existing account for you.
  • We contact your existing bank for a list of your Direct Debit and Standing Order payments for the account you’re switching from.
  • You select the accounts you want us to move to us.

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How we make a difference

We are a bank established to serve the needs of our customers and enrich society as a whole.  We work with organisations that aim to have a positive impact on society through economic, community or social change.

Our people support charities and communities through our ‘Unity in the Community’ (UitC) programme.  The Unity team is actively involved in volunteering and fundraising events  organised throughout the year.  Good causes are nominated by our people to receive donations.

To find out more about how we make a difference, view our Impact Report – Half Year 2020 or Impact Report – 2019.

Case studies