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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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First Direct

Is First Direct ethical?

First Direct has been researched and ranked in The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Banks & Building Societies Ratings Table and receives a low score, appearing at the bottom of the sector overall.

Although our ethical requirements have not yet been met by this company, we hope that in the future, it will make the necessary adjustments to operate as a more ethical business.

More information on the ethical issues faced by the sector, may be found in The Good Shopping Guide’s article on Ethical Banking. You can also use our Ethical Banks & Building Societies Ratings Table to compare First Direct to other banks.

What does First Direct do?

First Direct was established in 1989 by the now defunct Midland Bank. When Midland Bank was acquired by HSBC in 1992, First Direct became a part of HSBC Holdings Plc. First Direct operates as a digital bank with online and telephone access and is headquartered in Leeds, England.

For which criteria does First Direct score poorly? 

First Direct receives a bottom rating across many of our research categories.

In the Other Criticisms category, First Direct receives a bottom rating, primarily due to HSBC’s business practices. This includes accusations of failing to protect customer deposits, poor anti-money laundering systems and tax fraud.

In what areas does First Direct score well for its ethics?

First Direct receives a middle rating for Carbon Disclosure & Reduction Targets, as HSBC discloses some of its carbon emissions and has set targets for reducing its carbon footprint in the future.

How can First Direct improve its ethical rating?

The ethical rating of a Finance brand is divided into three categories by The Good Shopping Guide: the Environment, People and Other. Find out more about how we rate.

First Direct should improve in the areas where it receives a middle or bottom rating. By achieving this, First Direct could attain a higher GSG score.

If you’re interested in learning more about achieving Ethical Accreditation for your brand, please contact us or complete a Free Initial Assessment form.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Environmental Destruction


  • Carbon Disclosure & Reduction Targets



  • Irresponsible Lending


  • Political Donations


  • Irresponsible Lending+



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Responsible Investment Policy


  • Mutual Status


  • Other Criticisms


  • Other Criticisms+


= GSG Top Rating = GSG Middle Rating = GSG Bottom Rating