8.2 Action: Tell your bank to stop financing nuclear weapons producers

If you have money in a British bank account, there’s a good chance that it is being used to fund nuclear weapons. The DBOTB report’s Hall of Shame includes 26 British financial institutions which together made an estimated £24.5 billion available to nuclear weapons companies between January 2014 and October 2017. See section 6 above for details of the Scottish banks which finance nuclear weapons.

The Co-operative Bank is the only British bank that has a comprehensive policy prohibiting financial involvement with nuclear weapons producers. Barclays, RBS Group, Lloyds and Standard Chartered, have policies concerning nuclear weapons, but they are not comprehensive and each has money invested in nuclear weapons producers.

Four steps towards divestment

Step 1: do your research

Find out:

A: Whether your bank is financing nuclear weapons producers (DBOTB Hall of Shame).
B: Whether your bank has a comprehensive policy prohibiting the financing of nuclear weapons producers (DBOTB Hall of Fame).

The DBOTB Campaigner Guide recommends that if your bank is not listed in the DBOTB report, it is best to write and ask the bank whether it has a policy related to nuclear weapons and whether it is financing any nuclear weapons producers. This is because financial institutions are often not very transparent about their investments and it can be difficult to get the information from their websites.

Step 2: express your concerns

If the bank either does not have a comprehensive policy or does have a comprehensive policy but is still financing nuclear weapons producers, write to your bank’s Chief Executive to express your concerns. You can use our template letter or compose your own including the following points:

  • Say that you’re an account holder.
  • If the answer to A in step 1 above is yes, say that you are aware of the bank’s financing of nuclear weapons producers and explain why you believe that the bank should end its relationship with these companies (see section 1 for arguments you can use in favour of divestment).
  • If the answer to B in step 1 above is no, suggest that the bank adopt a comprehensive policy. There are many examples of comprehensive policies in the DBOTB report’s Hall of Fame which you can point to. Check the report’s Runners-up category, as the bank may already have a policy which can be strengthened.
  • Let them know that you expect a response and say that you will move your money if the bank does not adopt a comprehensive policy.

Step 3: arrange a meeting

If the bank is unwilling to divest, try to arrange a meeting. You may wish to look for like-minded account-holders and approach the bank as a group. The DBOTB Campaigner Guide recommends that you go as high as you can, so try to get a meeting with a member of the board of directors or someone who is in a position to influence internal company policies. The Campaigner Guide has guidance on who you may wish to approach (page 18), along with tips on how to negotiate and how to rebut common arguments against divestment (pages 21 to 24).

Step 4: move your money

If you can’t persuade your bank to change its policy, move your money to a bank with a comprehensive policy.