British consumers are being encouraged to move their money to a more ethical organisation.
Mirroring a similar campaign in the United States, the UK Move Your Money initiative is telling people to move their money to the Co-operative Bank, credit unions or building societies.
The organisation, which is made up grassroots activists and campaigners who have worked with UK Uncut and the London Occupy movement, is supported by Co-operatives UK and New Economics Foundation.
A website (www.moveyourmoney.org.uk) is asking people to make a pledge to move their money, which is building up to Move Your Money Month in March, when consumers can "change British banking for good", according to the organisation.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: "We have co-operative and mutual options for current accounts and savings right across the UK and every pound is reinvested for good rather than for bad. At an individual level, you can't do everything to put an unfair economy right — but you can do something. Move Your Money is the new fair trade. It is the campaign for our times."
A statement from Move Your Money read: "Banks rely on the deposits of ordinary savers. So when you choose where you keep your money, you are choosing between supporting business as usual, or taking a simple but powerful step towards a better banking system. By moving your money you can directly support an ethical and socially useful bank, and send a clear message about the sort of society and economy you want to see. And one you’d rather not.
"The tide is turning. Politicians are starting to talk about ‘responsible capitalism’ and boosting the co-operative sector, but they are long on talk and short on action. From civil right activists creating local banking in the US, to Barclays pulling out of Apartheid South Africa — changes happens when we act."
The website lists a number of credit unions, ethical banks, building societies and community development finance institutions that people can move their money to. A clear message from the website is that money in these organisations go to the local communities or are invested in social or environmental initiatives.
Across Great Britain, there are now 465 credit unions that serve 870,000 members. £600 million is saved in credit unions. Building societies have £220 billion of UK savings.
In the United States, the combined efforts of the separate Move Your Money and Bank Transfer Day campaigns saw around 650,000 people join credit unions, adding $4.5 billion in new savings, according to the Credit Union National Association.
• For more information, visit: www.moveyourmoney.org.uk