Co-op Bank cuts first-half losses to £38.5m

The Bank, now owned by hedge funds after a financial crisis forced its sale by the Co-op Group, said it would continue to follow its ethical policy

Co-op Bank has reported a pre-tax loss of £38.5m for the six months ended 30 June – an improvement on a £39.5m loss a year earlier.

In its interim report the Bank said its operating income had fallen slightly to £191.2m, from £192.9m for the same period in 2018.

Competition in the mortgage sector and political uncertainty in the housing market have squeezed its interest income, but the Bank said its customer satisfaction remains high, and its efforts to attract and retain customers has proven successful.

The Bank is no longer owned by the Co-op Group after a financial crisis which prompted its restructure and sale to hedge funds in 2017. It is currently in the process of separating its IT systems from the Group; this remains on track and the ‘relationship agreement’ between the two is set to end next year.

In the report, chief executive Andrew Bester said the Bank would maintain its ethical policy and still supported co-operative values, despite its split from the Group.

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“At a time when consumers are increasingly seeking ethical choices, our brand resonates,” he said. “We plan to further develop our multi-media advertising campaign ‘For People With Purpose’ launched in May, reinforcing the co-operative values and ethics that we know are important to our customers.”

The report added: “We continue to support the co-operative movement and our funding for the Hive, the business support programme developed in partnership with Co-operatives UK, will continue to the end of 2020.

“We demonstrated our ongoing support for co-operative businesses by sponsoring the annual Co-operatives UK congress and the annual Co-operative of the Year awards in June. These events were attended by co-operative business leaders from across the UK.”

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