The bank has been emailing its customers to advise them of the change, explaining that the Bank and the Group have been separate businesses for several years and that it will no longer be possible for their members to earn Co-op Group points from Bank products.
The email also recommends those unsure whether they are still a Group member can contact the Co-op Group Membership Team at [email protected].
The Co-operative Bank was bailed out by hedge funds following its financial crisis in 2013. The Group sold its remaining 1% stake in the business in September 2017.
Despite no longer being owned by a co-operative, the Bank was allowed to retain its name after agreeing with apex body Co-operatives UK to continue to support the movement and reflect its ethical values. The Co-operative Bank is investing more than £1.3m in The Hive to help new and existing co-operative businesses thrive.
The Bank recently reported a modest operating profit of £14.3m for the first quarter of 2018, a £39.6m improvement on the same period in 2017.
“Currently, Co-op Group members who hold some of our banking products can earn points which are counted as part of the Co-op Group membership scheme,” said a statement issued by the Bank. “Following membership scheme changes made by the Co-op Group, from January 2019 Co-operative Bank products held by members will no longer be eligible to earn points.”
It added: “There are no changes to product terms and conditions or to the relationship we have with our customers.
“We are as committed as ever to the values of the co-operative movement, to providing banking services to co-operatives and credit unions and to helping the co-operative sector develop and grow – for example through our funding of our Hive initiative with Co-operatives UK.”
A spokesman at the Co-op Group added: “This change is being made because we no longer own a share in the Co-operative Bank, after we sold it in September 2017. The change is set to take effect from 1 January 2019.
“Members will continue to earn rewards in our businesses in the usual way when they trade with the Co-op’s business.”