What Makes A Bank Ethical? Mondo's Beta Ethical Thoughts

It was a pretty good discussion actually.
I think the three main takeaway points for me were:

  • More women in banking - address the gender gap especially higher up the food chain.
  • Decoupling from investment banking and high street banking.
  • Blockchain - lots of talk about this and distributed ledgers.

There was lots of HSBC bashing too.

I believe that meetup is monthly and there is usually room to squeeze in as most of the meetups I go to never get a full attendance. Hopefully there would be some interesting topics that Mondo could attend in the future.

Hi all,

I’m new here and just catching up. Everything I’ve read so far on Monzo ethics has been very encouraging to hear.

As it’s been almost a year since the ethics page was last updated and now that the banking licence has been approved it would be great to have an update on this.

Can we expect any additions to the ethics page in the near future?

https://getmondo.co.uk/ethics/

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You might be interested in this page too, which has some more recent, related content -

So we’re over a year on now from the first ethics draft. Could we get an updated version that lays out the future of Monzo and its ethics in regards to the investments made using our money. I don’t think I’m the only one who finds this a key part of who I’d choose to look after my money.

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I haven’t heard anything that suggests that Monzo’s approach to investments has changed?

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You’re right it should be updated. I’ll add it to my todo list and get it done in the next week or two :slight_smile: Please hassle me if it’s not

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Thanks Tristan. Will do. Look forward to seeing your vision for this.

I had some spare time now so it’s now been updated :slight_smile: Essentially, nothing has changed in our plans of how we’ll look after your money — I’ve just updated it to reflect the fact that some people now have current accounts with us. Shout if you have questions!

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Not meaning to bump an old thread but it appears to be the most appropriate place to continue the ethics discussion.

I was reading about the energy switching feature and commented to propose a question as to whether Monzo would ever consider providing the ability for customers to switch to an energy company which provided electricity that wasn’t renewable (i.e: polluting and contributing to climate change).

The answer was, yes it would, and I can totally see how this makes sense from a traditional commercial perspective, giving customers a full breadth of choice lets them feel better about the Monzo experience.
Ahem, I would argue though that the after last 100 years of rampant capitalism reaping of the world’s resources, giving the customer exactly what they want hasn’t really contributed anything towards a sustainable or healthier future for us all, but I digress.
My angle is that I see areas like this as an opportunity for businesses to help push us all to a better future. Tesla is probably the best example of this, in that their entire mission is not to make amazing electric cars, but to Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport. Which is a mammoth but perfectly achievable goal for them (which they appear to be succeeding at). Monzo’s is to create the world’s best current account, which is perhaps harder to fulfill as it’s much more subjective and can be interpreted differently by different people. My personal “best bank business in the world” would, amongst other things, have a zero carbon footprint and empower its customers to do the same easily.

All this did get me thinking back to Monzo’s ethics as a company. Whilst Monzo’s business is generally wildly innovative, Ethics policy feels lacking to that of even traditional banks. Existing discussion around ethics has tended to focus on investment ethics (obviously very important!) but it would be great to see Monzo lay out some other ethical policy on environment and sustainability. What are Monzo’s guiding principles on Environment policy? Is Monzo taking any steps to reduce its impact on the environment? Where does Monzo get its leccy from?

This is an area where, unsurprisingly, ethical banks take a strong view (Triodos, Co-Op).
Working towards decarbonisation is something that benefits every person on earth and seeing commercial enterprise in every sector of business work towards this goal is always a positive thing, as a customer this is something I value in a business.

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For me, this is the point. Every user probably has causes that they’re passionate about & would like to see Monzo support. Personally, I care about the environment too.

But whereas Tesla’s central mission is sustainability, Monzo’s isn’t. It’s never going to be possible for Monzo to address all of the causes that Monzo users care about, especially once they start partnering with other providers & you consider their ethics too.

But Monzo users can vote with their wallets. If they don’t like a partner’s ethics then they don’t have to use their integration.

Having said all that, it’s worth pointing out that Phil’s mentioned that ethics are a consideration when choosing partners -

So it’s worth sharing your requests, I just wouldn’t expect Monzo to address them directly in every instance. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that you are expecting them to, that was more of a general comment :slight_smile:

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Absolutely! And I’m a firm believer of the power that people have with voting with their wallets. But this does fall down without good education available to people, so they can make informed decisions. Commonly, company ethics aren’t normally exposed to consumers (at least not unless they’re very good or very bad via the press). In addition to that: Most customers simply do not care unless they’re made to care, two quick examples being low animal welfare meat and Uber. So if Monzo customers can choose a product or service via Monzo, then I suppose the question is more what information does Monzo provide in order for the customer to make an informed decision.

I’m not at all expecting Monzo to turn ethical all of a sudden but really I suppose wondering where Monzo draws the line in the sand. How, in the example of energy companies, does it chose the companies, because something has to guide those decisions. Would it suggest a company under investigation for continued poor customer service / a company reported by Which? to have refused lowering prices despite repeated whole sale price reduction / a company invested in new coal mining operations / a company that murdered 10,000 kittens on a sunday morning that one time.
What guides the decisions. A public facing outline of some sort of ethical or CSR policy which helps to guide the decision making would be great to have.

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I can’t seem to reach the blog post. Is this URL no longer working?

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Monzo has had a name change from Mondo this year. Therefore it has had a url change since that was posted. It is now at https://monzo.com/blog/2016/06/07/ethical-banking/

A certain high street bank made a point of selling its ethical banking. Turned out some of its head staff were not too ethical and all but made it insolvent.

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Hi, @tristan this page need an update - All the links, emails, and Mondo etc… Are you guys working on putting together an ethical policy?
Appreciate it’s a busy time at Monzo HQ, but as Monzo is becoming the main bank for more and more people every day a lot will visit the website and basic information should be updated regularly I think…

100% agree. It’s still all valid and correct, but we do need to spruce it up :slight_smile: We’ll do that as part of the website update that’s coming soon!

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Yes valid but not entirely correct :slight_smile: your email is getmondo for example

Looking forward for website update though.

Thanks for the update. I have to say I’m a little disappointed, I love my monzo card, but my main bank is with Triodos because I like to know exactly what my money is being invested in. It would be great if the team could take the time to strongly consider how to invest people’s money ethically and show further transparency. Even if it was just a policy with aims and objectives for the future and how you might achieve them. I understand your a small team and very busy, but it would be great to show you taking the lead in this. I’d love to switch otherwise!

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Do banks have the right to ‘invest’ our money?

From what I understand other than lending (i.e. overdrafts in Monzo’s case) it sits on deposit with the Bank of England.

Edit: OK, that’s the case now but does not have to be the case (just read the Transparency policy pages properly)

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Sorry if this is totally ignorant and stupid, but when it sits in the bank of England, do they lend it out?

I just meant that it would be nice if they had an ambition to lend to communities or companies which do socially good in the future.

(Sorry lend not invest, I’m trying to understand banking more, but find it very confusing!)