From money laundering drug money to the banking crisis, banking standards are at an all-time low, crashing to rock-bottom with the latest HSBC tax evasion scandal. ‘Too Big to Fail’ banks are also major investors in fracking and the fossil fuel industry, putting our money into extreme energy extraction that is ruining the planet. British high-street banks invest over £66 billion in fossil fuels.
Luckily, there are alternatives. Talk Fracking spoke to the campaign group Move Your Money to get the low down on where to put your cash so it won’t destroy the planet.
“To divest from fracking and other fossil fuels, people should move their money out of the big 5 UK high street banks: HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, RBS and Santander,” Joel Benjamin tells Talk Fracking.
Benjamin is local authorities campaigner at Move Your Money. He continues: “Instead people should move their money to alternative banks and building societies that do not invest in fracking including Triodos, Ecology Building Society, Coventry Building Society, Unity Trust and Cooperative Bank.”
These banks invest in socially useful renewable energy projects rather than “extreme energy” fossil fuels. The Move Your Money website “switching scorecard” provides more information on the good, the bad and the ugly of UK banking. NationWide and Handelsbanken are also good greener alternatives. It is not clear where Metro Bank stand on fracking as they are a relatively new bank and information on their lending practices is not easy to find.
“Divestment – move your money out of fossil fuels” is a pamphlet researched by the campaign group that includes the big banks involvement with fracking.
Barclays is 97% owner of Third Energy, a fracking company carrying out exploratory drilling in Yorkshire. It is also provides banking services for Igas, the firm that aim to frack in the North and Midlands of England.
HSBC owns shares and lends Money to Dart energy, who own licences for Coal Bed Methane in Scotland and were bought out last year by Igas. HSBC also provide banking services for the key UK fracking company Cuadrilla and have global fracking investments.
Santander will not publically disclose any ties or investment to fracking companies.
Lloyds are major shareholders in Centrica and BG group. Formerly British Gas, Centrica have invested in fracking in partnership with Cuadrilla. BG Group are majority owned by Ineos, who aim to frack Scotland.
RBS states it is: “Committed to finance fracking with due diligence to environmental and social risks,” although it will not state what the criteria are for this policy.
Benjamin explains that banks investing in fracking not only threaten the environment: “Anyone with financial exposure to fracking firms is taking a major gamble with their money.”
Fracking companies heavily depend on bank loans to sponsor their exploration, which makes them risky investments as the British fracking industry has admitted it does not know how much gas could be recovered. “Fracking can only be financially viable if oil is above $80 per barrel. It has recently been priced at $43 a barrel.”
The fracking “junk bond” energy “carbon bubble” could easily burst, sending banks the same direction as toxic subprime mortgages caused the 2008 banking collapse. This could threaten any bank that invests – along with any money you have with them.
For the sake of the planet and your own savings, now seems a great time to move your money into ethical banks and building societies.