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As our latest independent, ethical research on UK Banks & Building Societies continues to trend on social media, key stories which have received a lot of interest include Dodgy Lending, Tax Avoidance and Questionable Environmental Records. But what about the human rights’ records of UK Banks?

In the course of preparing our research, we discovered the terrifying reality that Lloyds was one of the high street banks funding a company that manufactures cluster bombs (the others include The Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC). The partially state-owned Lloyds, which was bailed out by the taxpayer with an injection of £20bn of state funds, has also invested in Lockheed Martin, the US arms giant that has a long track record of making cluster munitions. (In November 2009, Lloyds contributed $62.5m as part of a 12-bank syndicate when Lockheed issued bonds for a total of $1.5bn).

As if that is not bad enough, Lloyds Banking Group has also become embroiled in a row over its investment in a company accused of involvement in the rendition of terror suspects on behalf of the CIA. Lloyds, part-owned by the taxpayer, is one of a number of leading City institutions under fire for investing in US giant Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), which is accused of helping to organise covert US government flights of terror suspects to Guantánamo Bay and other clandestine “black sites” around the world.

While not directly related to the issue of human rights, it is nevertheless important to note that six major UK banks have been linked to a recent rate-rigging scandal. These banks, which include UBS, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of America, have been fined more than $4bn as regulators punished them for their role in a foreign exchange rate-rigging that once again called into question the integrity of global financial markets. The tally of the fines, agreed in separate settlements, is already close to the $6bn paid so far over the long-running Libor rate-rigging probe. Other regulators including the US Department of Justice, which is known for levying heavy fines, are still investigating.

These stories provide only a mere glimpse into the shady reality behind the UK’s leading banks. Before you make your next withdraw or deposit, we highly recommend that you think twice about what bank you use and what you may be indirectly sponsoring by using them. Check out our latest research for a detailed breakdown of the ethical records of UK Banks and Building Societies, as well as for a list of ethical alternatives. Charity Bank, which is Ethically Accredited by Ethical Company Organisation and scores a perfect 100 Ethical Company Index Rating, is an industry leader and recommended by The Good Shopping Guide.





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