Disinvestment Day

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I did it!

Yesterday I went down to Broadmead and told Santander I wasn’t banking with them any more. Here’s the letter I handed in explaining why:

The Manager 

Santander

Merchants Street,

Bristol 13th February 2015

Dear Sir/Madam,

Account number 77182204

I writing to advise you that I am transferring my account to the Co-operative Bank. They will be in touch soon, please assist them in taking over my banking business.

You may wonder why I am doing this. It is not something I do lightly. Indeed I have not changed my bank since April 1979. The reason is your lack of an ethical investment policy.

It has come to my attention that Santander has invested £3.5 billion in more fossil fuel resources. This is ridiculous. The IPCC has warned that to avoid disastrous climate change we need to leave 80% of known fossil fuels reserves in the ground. Encouraging the exploitation of more fossil fuels is grossly irresponsible and I do not want my money used for this purpose.

I have also discovered that you are funding Mountain top removal in the USA and are considering backing the development of a new coal terminal in the Great Barrier reef. Greenpeace tell me that you are one of the Banks funding April, a company busy destroying the Indonesian rainforest. I cannot allow my savings to be used for these purposes.

My decision has nothing to do with the standard of your service. Indeed, since Santander took over I have found it to be excellent. In fact I will be £4 or £5 a month worse off by moving. But what does losing a few pounds matter if it means the Orang-utans can keep their forest home?

Perhaps you will see the error of your ways and we will be able to do business again in the future.

Yours faithfully,

Barry Cash B.A., M.I.Diag.E

Changing your bank is surprisingly easy. I chose the Co-op because they are the only high street Bank with an ethical policy that excludes fossil fuels. I popped in to the branch in Westbury on Trym and a lovely young lady called Rhian Harris is sorting it all out for me. I took in a utility bill and driving licence to open the account and that’s all I have to do.

The Co-op will contact Santander and arrange for my money to be transferred and all my direct debits moved. Any money paid into the old account is automatically transferred for 13 months. Easy! I didn’t actually need to visit Santander but I wanted them to know why I was moving and I wanted to support the disinvestment day protest.

“What difference will it make?” I hear you ask. Well as Santander have 3 million customers they won’t be hard hit by losing my modest wealth. But one of my favourite quotations is this from Bobby Kennedy:

Each time a man stands for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

He’s absolutely right. When thousands of us move our accounts then the big Banks will listen. They’re already worried. Barclays had hired security guards to stop the protest from taking place inside their branch yesterday.

So stop your money being used to trash the planet. It’s the only one we and the Orang Utans have so we better look after it. But I suggest you give Rhian a ring on 0117 950 2242 before you visit her. She’s rather busy. Everyone wants to send out their little ripple.

p.s. The Co-op are giving me £100 and giving £25 to charity for moving to them.

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