I’ve mentioned previously that the Co-operative Bank has been a minority shareholder in Unity Trust, the trade union bank which it helped set up thirty years ago this year.
Another part of the fall-out from the Co-op Bank debacle is that this 26.7% stake in Unity is now to be sold. Unity put out a short press statement on Tuesday about this: “Discussions are at an early stage and any decision on a changed ownership structure would be subject to regulatory approval,” it says. Unions have the option to acquire the Co-op’s shares in Unity first, before they are disposed of more publicly.
Unity does not provide retail banking for individuals but it does a useful job as bankers not only for unions but also for a wide range of charities, local authorities and community organisations. My experience of them has generally been positive: helpfully, they were early adopters of an electronic equivalent to the standard ‘two signature’ rule for cheque signing, so that charities and other organisations with this rule in force can make payments on-line.