Ethical Banking for Co-operatives

We have an account with the Coop bank too - I was quite surprised when l saw that they’re cancelling the integration in March. As @Cweb-Nick has already mentioned, it’s going to cause problems with our finance processes.

It was really difficult for us to get an account with any bank in the first place because we’re legally registered as a co-op. We’d heard good things about Metro Bank but our lack of info on Companies House meant we couldn’t proceed with the application. Coop bank has been OK from a service perspective, but the online banking site is a shocker. The UX is really out of date and not intuitive at all, we were all quite surprised when we saw how bad it was. @shaun if you’re ever in need of a user tester/want more detailed feedback, I’d be happy to help.


Hi @shaun I’d be interested in anything you can point me at about this bank integration thing with Xero and it affecting all banks. Ta.

Here in Argentina an emerging banking alternative is “Moneda Par” ( Moneda par is a social crypto-currency for mutual credit used to exchange product, services and labour within the social, popular and solidarity economy among other fair trade initiatives, without the need of intermediaries that is actually controlled democratically by it’s users via confederal assemblies. This crypto-currency has been already tested and is vigent in more than 14 Argentine locations. Apart from that, most cooperatives here are associates with the cooperative bank “Credicoop”. ( which was recently recognised as one of the top 300 cooperatives of the world at the ACI Cooperative Monitor. Credicoop recently launched his own payment processor called “Sipago” (, which is a cooperative alternative to the capital-enterprise option “MercadoPago” (

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Hi Graham

It was only a vague recollection - on searching my mail all I find is a note on problems with the Yodlee feed. However, so far as I can see this is only temporary. Nothing about permanent switch off:


Hi @Kayleigh

Thank you. Very helpful. Do I have your permission to mention Outlandish by name to the bank then? It would focus minds I’m sure.

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For what it’s worth, we use Tide, which has no particular ethical recommendation to it.

It was quick to set up (which was why we went with it), easy because we are on Companies House and are pretty happy with the web UI, the mobile app and the Xero integration. We have heard from others that they tend to have problems when you are transfering a lot of money in or out. The only bad thing is lack of international transfers, though we are told this is planned.

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Another option that might be worth assessing is the business bank accounts at London Community Credit Union, :smiley:

I have my business bank account here, though i have not yet used their online services. I don’t use ANY online banking systems, due to my experiences with ID theft back in 2000, and, the ongoing problems that some of my customers have with online banking.*

One thing to mention, is that LCCU, like most UK-based Credit Unions, have a location-based criteria for membership. You need to live, work, or, study, in one of their boroughs to qualify for membership.

As Islington is one of their boroughs, any business using Space4 will qualify.

*I only use the in-branch banking, so i have to be physically present for transactions to take place.

Yes, i can set up Standing Orders, and use Current Accounts for online payments, but i have to be physically present to set them up.

It’s self-chosen, extra set of hurdles, that i’ve put in place to avoid bad actors from siphoning money from my accounts.

After i explained why i wanted this, they were more than happy to acommodate my requests.

Yes, it does take a little longer to get things done, but it’s easier than the costs in time/money of clearing up the mess that i had to do in 2000, when ID theft was a new thing taking place.

At Autonomic, we have started used Transferwise to send and receive money abroad. It has no ethical credentials though and it uses Barclays on the back-end.

Co-op bank account still seems like the best option for us.

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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:)