Mutual link boosts Bank

The Co-operative Bank says being part of a mutual organisation — the Co-operative Group — has been crucial to its recent successes, which contrast with the problems engulfing...

A spokesman for Co-operative Financial Services told the News that, despite the worldwide banking crisis, the Co-op Bank has remained financially strong and is still managing to grow.


“This position and the Bank’s reputation for trust also appear to be attracting new customers seeking a safe place for the savings,” said the spokesman.

The Bank has seen significant increases in savings balances during the first six months of the year: Retail savings have grown by over £0.5 billion (11 per cent) and its term savings (one to three years) have grown by £0.4bn (87 per cent).

And while some competitors turned their back on mutuality, the Co-op Bank believes its focus on operating for the benefit of customers and members has been important in helping it to cope with the tougher times.

CFS Chief Executive David Anderson (pictured) said: “You can’t help but notice that in the UK a lot of the difficulty has arisen from the former mutuals that have de-mutualised. Whereas the mutual sector as a whole — the Bank included — tends to have been much more solid during this period.

“Our recent interim results demonstrate the strength of our balance sheet and the responsible approach we’ve taken in managing our customer’s finances, which has limited our exposure to the market forces that are causing so many of our competitors concerns.

“The Co-operative Bank as a business is seen as ‘weathering the storm’ better than most, which can only help to build consumer confidence in the brand in these uncertain times.”

The Bank says it is not dependent on the financial markets to fund its business with customers because it has more in deposits than it lends out.

Added the spokesman: “The Bank has also maintained a strong capital base and is therefore — unlike some big players — not reliant on the markets to raise extra capital to deal with present market conditions.”

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