Banking: Back to basics - What's on offer?

BANK OF SCOTLAND

Overview Part of the HBOS group, the Bank of Scotland is a leading high-street bank. It has just launched the Community Banking Current Account.

Features A dedicated relationship manager, no charges if no more than 50 cheques are issued in any one month.

Selling points The facilities of a current account with the interest of a deposit account.

CHARITIES AID FOUNDATION

Overview 17,000 UK-based charitable organisations currently hold accounts with telephone and postal service bank CAF. The CafCash account is the most popular.

Features No fixed charges, but charges for individual transactions. Customers may pay in at HSBC branches.

Selling points Secure online banking service that requires payments to be authorised by two officers of the organisation.

CHARITY BANK OVERVIEW

Charity Bank's Charities' Prime Account allows charities and other community organisations to put money in a deposit account in order to further their charitable objectives.

Features Customers choose the rate of interest they receive, up to 2 per cent. Waived interest allows Charity Bank to lower the interest charge to its charity borrowers. There are no standard charges.

Selling points Your money earns interest, but also finances charitable projects.

THE CO-OPERATIVE BANK

Overview The Co-Operative Bank claims to be "ethically guided, customer led". Its Community Directplus account was devised for not-for-profit organisations.

Features Free banking and interest on balances of £2,000 or more. The Bank makes a donation to national community organisations.

Selling points An ethical stance, a commitment to alleviating third-world debt, and guaranteed good customer service.

HSBC

Overview HSBC has more than10,000 offices across 76 countries. Its most popular account among charities is the Treasurer Account.

Features No minimum balance, electronic access, no charges for money transmission activity or on debits, transfers and payments. Charities with surplus funds may prefer the instant access HSBC Business Money Manager Account.

Selling points Caters for large and small charities. Actively supports charities through social responsibility policy.

NATWEST

Overview The entire Royal Bank of Scotland group claims to have the largest market share of the UK charitable/voluntary/community sector. One of its most popular accounts is the NatWest Community Account.

Features No account charges apply if the charity has a turnover of less than £100k. Above that point, the bank agrees charges with charities.

Free telephone banking.

Selling points Small and medium-sized organisations are attracted by the free banking and the reassuring high-street presence.

TRIODOS BANK

Overview Dutch-based Triodos has been building its presence in the UK since 1995. It has approximately 1,750 charity clients.

Features Banking with Triodos is not free, but charities benefit from a reduced tariff. Interest rates range from 1.25 per cent AER for credit balances over £5,000 to 4.06 per cent AER on £250,000+ with 33 days' notice.

There is no minimum opening balance.

Selling points Money is only invested in social and environmental projects.

Triodos also claims to offer a banking service that has "a uniquely human face".

UNITY TRUST BANK OVERVIEW

The Unity Trust Bank was established in 1984 by trade unions.

Half of Unity's 18,000 accounts are now held by charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises.

Features Its most popular accounts are those that are tailored to the individual needs of customers.

Selling points Focuses on the needs of each customer and actively supports charitable activities.

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