Co-op Bank refuses account to feminist group after it ‘actively denied’ trans rights

The Co-operative Bank refused a bank account to a feminist group after it “actively denied the rights of members of the transgender community,” a new report has revealed.

The bank published its Values and Ethics Report 2017 on Tuesday (June 12), which revealed that a number of account application had been refused for conflicting its inclusion and equality policies. 

The report states that it declined banking facilities to a “feminist group that actively denied the rights of members of
the transgender community.”

The publication adds that it refused the same services to a “charity directly linked to an organisation which was classified as a cult outside of the UK, and whose members had been denied basic human rights.”

The document continues: “The bank is supportive of women’s rights and the freedom of thought and belief.

“But in both cases, the activities were considered to be in breach of our position on human rights, equality, and our diversity and
inclusion policies.”

The transgender pride flag. (Creative Commons)

The report shows that The Co-operative Bank also refused banking services to an individual with links to an oppressive regime, and to another person involved in selling mink scarves.

A spokesperson from The Co-operative Bank told PinkNews: “Part of our ethical policy is our commitment to only provide banking services to organisations that are aligned to the values and ethics our customers have said are important to them.

“As per our 2017 Values and Ethics Report we were unable to provide banking services in a specific case as we had concerns relating to our ethical policy statement: ‘We will not provide banking services to any business, organisation or government that advocates discrimination and incitement to hatred’.”

The spokesperson added that the bank gave the feminist group involved an “opportunity to provide clarification on their position relating to diversity and equality and how they comply with the UK Equality Act,” but that “the organisation failed to respond to this request and their application was therefore declined.”

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 25: Demonstrators protest for transgender rights on February 25, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators were angry with President Donald Trumps recent decision to reverse the Obama-era policy requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

An activist campaigning for trans rights. (Getty)

Responding to the report, Natacha Kennedy, a trans rights activist, told PinkNews: “It is very good that the Co-op is supporting trans people like this and understanding that some groups calling themselves ‘feminist’ are just fronts for transphobia.

However, she added: “I hope they also soon decide to stop advertising in news media like the Daily Mail [and] The Times, whose coverage of trans people is, in my opinion profoundly biased and hateful.”