Ethical Banking for Co-operatives

We use them for when we have to do this also.

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Co-op’s registered as “Co-operative Societies” or “Community Benefit Societies” (are these the correct new terms for Industrial and Provident Societies?) do get pointers on Companies House to the FSA register, is this not enough? See for example the Webarchitects page.

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Yes, those are the correct names.

I think the issue is perhaps the fact that even on the FCA register you can’t easily/ automatically see/ check names etc of Directors (hidden in PDFs which need to be downloaded).

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@chris unfortunately not, as regular companies and specifically financial firms, are too lazy to go to the FCA register. It’s an utter joke but only companies just is classed as a trusted source in this country.

Probably just that data in FCA not easily machine readable/ query-able

@chrislowis Go Free Range worked on and hence Companies House site, right?

Have you approached FCA about sorting them out too? Things are way better than a couple of years ago, but still a long way to go!

We worked on but not Companies House as far as I know. Happy to talk to FCA :smile:

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I believe that the FCA site was last redeveloped by @Cweb-Nick?

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Thanks @chris. Yes, we’ve been working with the mutuals team at FCA for 5 years now. Initially, our focus was on helping them to streamline their internal systems.

However, more recently you’ll have seen this reflected in new avenues for interaction and submission via the Society Portal

Then during Spring last year we launched with them the revised Mutuals Public Register. For the first time this allowed free to download access to all digitised mutuals documents (previously there was a £12 charge). Obviously this removes yet another barrier to Financial Institutions reviewing these documents.

And yes - more features would be great to see (such as Key People) without the need to download PDFs. However, the delivery was brought in on a tight timeline and budget, and so there are potential improvements still waiting in the backlog as a result.

We’d love to hear of any further improvements you’d like to see on either the Public Register, or Society Portal. Obviously we cannot guarantee that they can be adopted, but we’re continually working with the FCA to enhance both of these systems to benefit the cooperative community.


Cheers @Cweb-Nick, I hadn’t realised quite how much work you have done for them :+1:.

One thing that could perhaps be improved on the Companies House and the FCA Public Register is how they link together?

For example on Companies House Webarchitects are listed as IP031305 with a link to the FCA site. On the FCA site you can’t search for this number and get any results because our number there is 31305R.

Also, where as the Companies House URL contains our number:

The FCA URL doesn’t:

So the FCA URL’s can’t be used as URI’s.

If both sites had numbers in a consistent format and / or both sites had URL’s based on the numbers then creating hyperlinks between them both could be automated and it might make it easier people people to navigate between the listings for co-ops on both sites.


I was using the Society Portal today to submit a load of overdue Annual Returns for a Co-op Society. Whilst I love that I could do it online using the portal (finally, thanks!), I found it somewhat frustrating that I had to add the same details (i.e. who the Directors are, who the Secretary is) over and over again.

From memory, when submitting Annual Returns for Companies/ LLPs etc on Companies House I only really need to edit anything that has changed and so don’t normally have to type nor enter anything. That is how it should work on the Society Portal too :slight_smile:

Nationwide Building Society is about to launch business accounts later this year.

Nationwide might be the most under-utilised democratic institution in the UK - there’s 16.5 million members and it requires a petition of only 500 members to put forward a motion. The co-operative movement might benefit from coming together to think of a proposal to put forward.


I knew they were considering it but want aware it’s definitely happening, great! What’s your source?

I think they’ll clean up given the paucity of good options at present. I personally bank with Nationwide and have been very happy so . Great mobile app too.

Once their business account exists it’ll almost certainly be what I recommend to people (and I’m one of those sort of people who people tend to ask to recommendations about such things).

Looking forward to it (which I guess makes me a bit sad :stuck_out_tongue::joy::thinking:)



Can’t remember where I read it first but here’s a recent news article about it.

If a lot of coop/solidarity/community/mutually owned businesses would be early adopters of their business accounts and would somehow coordinate together, there could be room for cooperation between the mutual giant and the smaller, newer similarly owned enterprises. I wouldn’t be surprised if they would like to become the “go to” bank for such ventures.

What should they do to be more beneficial enterprises like coops than other banks? That’s a big question I don’t have an answer. It might however be a question worthy of some collective thought exercises in the more “grassroots”/“new generation” coop movement like CoTech.

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Yes @shaun I just saw your reply! Sorry about that

I did anyway! The head of customer experience is very interested in talking to you. They know it’s bad and they want to make it better. Can I pass him your details?

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Yes please, thanks for mentioning us.

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This is possible within the society portal. Where a previous annual return has been submitted to the system, an additional button will be displayed that allows you to use the previous submission.

This would only possible where the previous annual return had been submitted and gone through the whole process, which is why it wasn’t available in your scenario.

I assume this is the same for Companies House, as unsure how else they would get this data to start with.

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Thanks for the constructive feedback. I can see the benefit of this and will bring it up in my next discussions with the FCA. If you have anything else, feel free to let us know


Sadly they’ve now scrapped those plans, see:

So now I think the best currently widely available option is now Starling Bank, see my recent post on the other thread about all this for reasons why:

We went with co-op bank in the end and it’s been ok. The support over the telephone was very good. The web UI is a bit slow. Will report back if any problems.