What's your bank doing with your savings?

While you're doing your best to live a compassionate, responsible life by making ethical choices and purchases, your bank could be using the rest of your savings to undermine all your best efforts.
Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 7 June 2019

2019 has seen a boom in ‘sustainable’ brands, ‘fair trade’ supply chains, and even ‘ethical’ superannuation funds, as switched-on consumers demand transparency and grow increasingly concerned about what kind of products and industries our hard-earned dollars are supporting.

This evolution towards the ethical begs the question: what about your savings that are sitting in the bank? They’re not just sitting in the bank, after all. Banks use your money as a sort of ‘piggy bank’ to lend to other clients — some of whom you might not be so thrilled about.

While many banks have policies on investing in industries such as tobacco and coal, most of them don’t take animal welfare into account when choosing who gets their financial support. This means there’s nothing stopping them from lending to horrific, animal-abusing industries – using your money.

Tragically for animals, the most popular banks in Australia do not have formal policies that categorically rule out lending to industries that profit from animal abuse, such as live export and factory farming.

Collectively NAB*, ANZ, and CBA financially support more than 80% of the live export companies in Australia. This means if your savings are tucked away in one of these banks, they’re being used to prop up one of Australia’s cruellest, most shameful trades, likely without your knowledge or consent.

Of course, this doesn’t mean all other banks are ‘sitting pretty’. The reality is, if you bank with Westpac, AMP, Bankwest, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, HSBC, Macquarie, Suncorp, or UBank, your bank doesn’t have an animal welfare policy either, which means your money could be financing live exporters and factory farms, too.

See where your bank falls on the cruelty scale in the table below:

Bank Do they have an Animal Welfare Policy?
supports 2 live export companies
supports 2 live export companies
finances 1 major live exporter
Westpac NONE
Bankwest NONE
Bendigo & Adelaide Bank NONE
NAB* NONE; formal policy in development
currently supports 10 live export companies
Bank of Queensland Moderate published Animal Welfare position statement
ING Formal, generic public policy
Rabobank Formal, detailed public policy
Bank Australia Formal, strong public policy

While you may be tempted to withdraw all your cash and transfer your money to a bank that won’t fund animal abusers, the solution to this problem unfortunately isn’t that simple…

Rather than abandoning the big banks, it’s our duty as caring citizens to encourage them to turn their backs on cruelty, divest their financial stakes in the live export and factory farming industries, and better reflect the values of their customers.

The path to ethical financing has been laid already: Compassionate precedents have been set by Bank Australia, Rabobank, and ING, who all have formal policies regarding animal welfare. It should be a no-brainer that other, bigger banks should follow this lead.

Banks like NAB*, ANZ, and CBA spend a lot of time and energy on ad campaigns highlighting how much they care about YOU, their customers. That’s why your feedback is essential in supporting our negotiations with these banks, and your message could be the final push needed for these financial giants to commit to developing ethical banking standards.

Please spare a moment now to ask your bank what they’re doing with your savings.


*While National Australia Bank (NAB) currently supports 55% of Australia’s live export companies, they are in the process of developing a detailed, formal Animal Welfare Policy which they plan to implement later this year. This signals a remarkable step forward for animals whose wellbeing will soon be considered as a matter of policy by one of Australia’s biggest investors.

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