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Personal Banking

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1:36 am
December 7, 2010

John Symond


posts 70

Are some banks more environmentally aware and genuinely 'green' than others?

Tell us about your experiences and knowledge. 

I bank with the ANZ. Later I will post my experience of them. 

9:26 pm
December 10, 2010

John Symond


posts 70

I have banked with the ANZ since 1971 and still do. With a few exceptions, I have been happy with the service I have received. Smile

During the campaign to stop the Gunn's paper-mill on the Derwent River, I found out that the ANZ was one of Gunn's financiers. Cry

The campaign began to focus on the institutions that were financing Gunn's. Some foreign banks pulled out. I was one of many who asked to speak with their local bank manager and I was cordially received when I expressed my dissatisfaction. I had told the ANZ by email that I was considering withdrawing my money from the ANZ and closing my accounts. Yell

The ANZ finally stopped financing Gunn's and, not long after, the paper-mill project came to a halt. Laugh

In consequence of this I began to subscribe to a newsletter put out by the ANZ Corporate Responsibility Group. My next post will cover the current situation. Wink

1:12 pm
December 11, 2010

John Symond


posts 70

Post edited 1:14 pm – December 11, 2010 by John Symond

There is currently some friction between Greenpeace Australia and the ANZ Bank over the question of financing the Coal Industry. 

Greenpeace has dubbed the ANZ "The dirtiest bank in Australia" Surprised

Greenpeace's view can be found here

ANZ has responded here

The ANZ bank has interesting information here

I will be studying both viewpoints and may post again this month. Smile


ANZ  Cool  is proud that:

"Our headquarters, ANZ Centre in Melbourne’s Docklands, has a ‘6 Star Green Star’ rating from the Green Building Council of Australia."

3:40 am
December 17, 2010

John Symond


posts 70

Greenpeace rates Westpac the most environmentally responsible bank with regard to coal mining and consumption, and rates the ANZ as the least responsible. 

All four major banks finance the coal industry to a greater or lesser extent. 

Westpac says:  "more than half of our energy financing in Australia and New Zealand was for renewable energy sources"


"Westpac has been the largest financiers of renewable energy projects in Australia", according to Greenpeace.   Cool


See the details of Greenpeace's analysis

I might be reporting some changes to my banking arrangements before long.

In a few months I have a term deposit maturing…

8:12 am
December 21, 2010



posts 30

I suggest checking MECU. (mecu.com.au). They have been good to deal with over many years as a member. We got a discount on our mortgage-available for buying a house with 6 star rating or better or to make renovations to take it to that level. They wanted the rating done by someone accredited to do the more rigorous Accurate rating scheme.

Paraphrasing from the web site: They were awarded the 2010 Australian Small Business Sustainability Award.  They also won this year's Victorian Good Corporate Citizen of the Year award and in 2009 won the Victorian Premier's Sustainability Award, the Australasian Reporting Award for commitment to Sustainability Reporting and was Smart Investor Magazine's Credit Union of the Year.

Ethical investor noted mecu's support for disadvantaged groups; environmental programs, which relate back to the core business; and governance, which combines a balance between stakeholder interest and financial strength.

8:39 am
December 21, 2010

John Symond


posts 70

Hi Peter

Thanks for your very informative post about MECU. I am going to open a new bank account today with Westpac. I need to go with one of the major four banks because I will not be the only person using the account. Otherwise I would definitely be checking out MECU.

I know MECU sponsored a meeting not long ago at the National Press Club. Perhaps organised by "Australia 21". Does anyone remember? Professor McKibben of the ANU spoke about his theories for using the taxation system to reduce carbon emissions. It was a new twist on emissions trading. 

Clearly MECU is an financial institution for environmentally conscious people to be aware of.

Wow! I just checked their website. They are conducting a poll on what do I want for Christmas!  Top of their list is – "A Price on Carbon"!

MECU is a Credit Union. Their slogan is "Responsible Banking" – about time someone thought of that! Cool

10:48 am
December 21, 2010



posts 448

Post edited 10:51 am – December 21, 2010 by marea
Post edited 10:53 am – December 21, 2010 by marea

Hi John and Peter,

Interesting posts on this subject. In response to queries to the 4 major banks back in October on this, here is the response received from the Commonwealth Bank's Customer Relations:

"Commonwealth Bank remains committed to sustainability and has been investing in the renewable energy sector since 2004. We understand that participating in this industry is a long term commitment that requires a significant investment in resources, knowledge and skills.

"In 2010 alone, we invested approximately $100 million in renewable energy projects.

"The Bank is currently a senior investor in a significant portfolio of renewable and clean energy projects generating more than 12,000 Megawatts (MW) across Australia and New Zealand including wind farms, biomass, landfill gas and waste mine gas power generation.

"In Australia, our total investment in clean and renewable energy represents approximately 55 percent of the total exposure to power generation companies (measured by installed MW capacity).  Furthermore, we have the lowest debt exposure to investments in single asset Australian coal fired generation of all the major Australian banks.

"In 2009 we set a real target of reducing our carbon emissions by 20 percent from 2008-09 levels and are on track to reach our goal by mid 2013.

"Commonwealth Bank is concerned by the apparent inaccuracy of the figures outlined in the Profundo report commissioned by Greenpeace.

"While we invested $100 million in renewable energy this year alone, the Profundo report estimates a total five-year investment of just $77 million.

"Figures in the report include several refinancing transactions. This means that some financing transactions are effectively double and triple counted.

"We are concerned about the accuracy of the report’s classifications of Bank financing to the New South Wales and Queensland Governments as ‘coal’ related. The Bank does not currently have any direct investments in the construction of any new coal fired power stations. In addition, we are concerned that the report includes deals from 2003, despite the report stating it only covers the previous 5 years." End of quote.

So that is the Commonwealth Bank's take on the issue.

It looks like this is going to be an interesting area for debate.

I had also heard of mecu and will look into what they do.

6:29 pm
December 21, 2010

John Symond


posts 70

Hi Peter and Marea

I opened a bank account with Westpac this morning. Smile

4:12 pm
January 12, 2011



posts 448

marea said:

Hi John and Peter,

Interesting posts on this subject. In response to queries to the 4 major banks back in October on this, here is the response received from the Commonwealth Bank's Customer Relations:

Here's an update:

Greenpeace has prepared a very detailed response to the concerns raised by the Commonwealth Bank. See it on the Greenpeace website here.

10:16 pm
June 11, 2014



posts 9

Post edited 10:19 pm – June 11, 2014 by Curly
Post edited 10:20 pm – June 11, 2014 by Curly
Post edited 10:21 pm – June 11, 2014 by Curly

Australian banks are major financiers
of fossil fuels, especially coal. 
As well as loans their superannuation and investment operations are significant investors in fossil fuel companies. 

Big overseas banks are starting to question their investments in coal – Australian banks should do the same.

In May 2014 two big international banks said they would not finance the expansion of the Abbot Point coal export terminal.  First Deutsche Bank , then HSBC, as the ABC reports, have ruled it out due to UNESCO’s concerns about its impacts on the World Heritage Site.  

The reason for the terminal is to export more coal.  But the world already has more fossil fuels than we can safely use.  A report, by the London School of Economics and the non-government organisation Carbon Tracker, found 60 to 80 per cent of oil, gas and coal reserves owned by listed companies  cannot be burnt if agreed global emission targets are to be achieved.  This must be ‘unburnable carbon’ if the world is to have any hope of keeping average global temperature rise to 2 degrees.

This ‘unburnable carbon’ is a financial risk (how do you make money out of coal that isn’t burnt?) as well as a climate risk.  Our big banks are major financiers of fossil fuels both directly and via their superannuation and wealth management branches. 

Market Forces has further information about switching to a bank that is not funding fossil fuels.

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