THE Co-operative Bank launched its first bank account for charitable and community-based organisations last week.
At a reception in London Baroness Thornton, chair of Social Enterprise Coalition and a Labour/Co-op peer, launched the account for all community groups.
She said: "I welcome this new product that can further support the growth and development in community based enterprises, local charities and social enterprises.
"This is an exciting time for the social economy and voluntary sector and it is good to see the Co-op Bank playing its part in the social enterprise renaissance."
As well as free banking and a competitive rate of interest, charities opening a new Community Directplus account stand to benefit from a unique donation fund that will grow in relation to deposits. For every £ 100 deposited in Community Directplus, 10 pence will be added to a Customer Donation Fund. Customers will then have the opportunity to apply for project funding from this fund.
In addition a further 10 pence per £ 100 will be added to a Community Donation Fund. This fund will operate in line with the bank's partnership approach, which aims to deliver measurable impacts on society, the environment, employees and the bank's business.
In the first year, these two funds are guaranteed to generate at least £ 25,000 for community distribution and this will increase with deposit growth expected.
The new Community Directplus account is a low cost 24-hour telephone, internet and postal banking service specifically designed to suit the needs of community organisations, charities, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and co-operatives.
The account will offer free banking, with no charges for cheques, standing orders, direct debits or cash deposits/withdrawals. In addition, credit interest up to 2.52 per cent gross is paid on the account providing a minimum balance of £ 2,000 is maintained in the account.
David Dickman, Head of Co-operative and Sector Development at the bank, said: "The new Community Directplus account is yet another example of the Co-operative Bank's commitment to the charity and not-for-profit sector. We have once again demonstrated our ability to launch innovative products that not only benefit the customer but also society in general.
"The establishment of the Community and Customer Donation Funds send out a clear message to the not-for-profit sector that The Co-operative Bank is the natural choice for charitable and community organisations."
To apply for the account telephone 0800 783 4741.
Pictured: David Dickman and Baroness Thornton at the launch of the new account.