Many months ago I mentioned discussion about banking. The Eco-congregation materials encourage churches to ensure they are investing ethically. Our bank was Nat West, well known for its investment in oil, gas and coal projects as part of the Royal Bank of Scotland group. Since many of the congregation bank with the Co-operative Bank some suggested we should change to this. Others thought it might be worth while supporting People and Planet’s Ditch the Dirty Development campaign – asking RBS-NatWest to change to funding renewable energy and threatening to boycott if they don’t. This latter option seemed more likely to work if other churches were on board so we were awaiting advice from the diocese on this.
However, the credit crunch has forced our hand – as interest charges drop while banking charges remain, it is no longer economically sensible to bank with Nat West. Consequently at the last PCC we chose to move our money into accounts that won’t be funding oil, gas and coal production. Other churches may be interested to know that for our current account we have chosen the Charities Aid Foundation bank because they provide an online banking system which allows charities and churches to sanction transactions with two e-mail accounts, like the two signatures on their cheque books. They also have far fewer bank charges than NatWest.