Let’s take a moment to think about your bank account. Chances are, you haven’t given a great deal of thought about how you bank, it’s just something you’ve done for years almost without thinking. Well, what if we were to tell you that there’s an alarming chance that the bank you have chosen to be a custodian of your hard-earned cash could be fuelling the dirty fossil fuel industry? In fact, the four biggest banks in Australia are guilty of this very thing.
The fossil fuel industry in Australia is still growing, even as we see the devastating effects of climate change accelerating at an alarming pace. A report released in July 2020 revealed that Australia is now the world’s biggest exporter of fossil fuels. Sobering news, but you are not powerless. You have a choice. Putting your money with a bank that aligns with your values is a great way of making your voice heard and sends a very powerful message to those banks who are still supporting the damaging fossil fuel industry.
Since 2016, the big banks have loaned $35.5 billion to fossil fuel companies which is fuelling the climate crisis. And your bank may be one of those actively taking part. Not sure how? Find out the status of your bank in seconds over at Market Forces, an independent not-for-profit organisation that tracks who banks lend their money to.
Is your bank not one of the good guys? If you’re ready to make the change, the first thing you should do is find a bank that aligns more closely with your values. Consider this table of where Australian banks stand on the issue of loaning to the fossil fuel industry. And this is where the good news comes in—there are over 50 banks who have clearly stated their position—some of whom will offer better rates than your existing bank. Win.
Once you've switched, give your old bank the download on why you left them. It’s important that they know their policies are directly affecting the profitability of their business and to give them a clear understanding of why you are ditching them. You can use this easy template to issue the notice or make your own.
Once you’ve opened a new account with your bank of choice—some will even let you do this step online—you need to get your recurring payments and debits rerouted. Finally, the last step will be to close your old account, and let your bank know why you are doing it. It’s really as simple as that. We’d also encourage you to let your friends and family know what you’re doing and why so that they can be as well informed as you.
So what are you waiting for? Use this step-by-step guide to make the change and use your money as a force for the change you want to see.
Image credit: Andre Hunter