By Max Clarke

Only three per cent of savers in the UK feel their bank does enough to explain what happens to their savings once they are deposited, research suggests.

The research from Triodos ‘ethical bank’ also reveals how bank customers feel about their savings potentially being used to support industries traditionally considered controversial.

Over half of savers said they would be concerned if they knew their bank was lending money to exploitive consumer goods production like sweatshops. A similar number would be concerned about their bank lending to weapons production, and over a third have issues with funding intensive animal farming.

54% of the respondents claimed that if they knew their bank was using their deposits to fund contentious sectors, they would vote with their feet and consider switching providers.

"Our research makes it very clear that the majority of savers are genuinely concerned about how their deposits are being used,” says Charles Middleton, Managing Director at Triodos Bank. “The banking sector as a whole must acknowledge customers’ interest in the use of money, and properly consider the role that its power and influence can play in acting for positive change.

“We believe savers have a right to know if their hard earned cash is being used to fund industries such as weapons production or the tobacco industry, only then can they make an educated choice as to where they deposit their money. ”

“UK consumers want and deserve a full understanding of where their money is being invested and lent,” continued Middleton, “so they can make informed decisions about where to deposit their savings. With over three quarters (76 per cent) of bank savers saying they have little to no information from their banks as to where their hard earned savings are being used, they are powerless to do anything. We therefore urge the major banks to make their business models transparent to customers, with clear reporting on all levels of business.”

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