Unity Trust Bank

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Unity Trust Bank
Public limited company
Industry Financial services
Parent The Co-operative Group (26.66%)
Website unity.co.uk

Unity Trust Bank Plc provides specialist banking services to trades unions and charities in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1984; head office is located at Nine Brindleyplace in Birmingham.[1] It is the first bank to be awarded the Living Wage Employer Accreditation Mark.


Originally a licensed deposit taking institution, Unity Trust Limited acquired full status as a bank under the provisions of the Banking Act in 1987.[2] Unity Trust Bank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.[3]

An unconnected Unity Joint Stock Mutual Banking Association was formed in London in 1855. This "Unity Bank" went into liquidation in 1862.[4]


Individual trades unions and federations own a majority 73.23% of the bank. The Co-operative Bank Plc, which supplied management expertise in the initial launch period, owns a 26.66% stake through its subsidiary Co-operative Commercial Limited. Certain individuals own the remaining 0.11% of the total equity capital between them.[5] Staff also hold a share of the bank's future, as they all hold shares through the Employee Ownership Scheme.

The Co-operative Bank's stake was put up for sale in early 2014 in an attempt to restore profitability following a capital shortfall, which resulted in a rescue by its bond holders – led by US hedge funds – and the parent Co-operative Group ceding control.[6]


In its founding principles, the bank was established as “an organisation identified with and embracing the philosophy of the common good.” It promotes a socially responsible and sustainable approach to banking and lending. In 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, Unity Trust received best marks for banking services in the Charity Finance magazine banking survey. The Unity in the Community initiative sees staff fundraising and volunteering in local communities and the bank gives them each five volunteer days a year to do this.[7]


Unity Trust does not operate a branch network, however, an encashment facility enables lodgements and withdrawals to be made over the counter at a nominated high street bank or any branch of National Westminster Bank (in England and Wales), RBS (in Scotland) and Ulster Bank (in Northern Ireland). A Post Office cash account paying-in facility is offered in conjunction with The Co-operative Bank and Santander UK (as successor to Girobank); cheques can be sent directly to the clearing centre using freepost envelopes to prevent delay. Since 2015, when the bank migrated from a Co-operative Bank sort code, payments have been processed through NatWest.

Code Note
08-60-01 to 20 September 2015
60-83-01 from 21 September 2015

The ALTO prepaid MasterCard, issued on behalf of Unity Trust by Wirecard Card Solutions (before 2011, Newcastle Building Society), allows customers to load funds from their account and withdraw cash at an ATM. The Unity Corporate MultiPay card, issued by Lloyds Bank, gives organisations a greater level of spending control.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Registered in England and Wales No. 1713124
  2. ^ Text of the Banking Act 1987 (cap. 22) as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database
  3. ^ Entered in the financial services register under number 204570
  4. ^ "Unity Joint Stock Mutual Banking Association". The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Heritage Online. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Report and Accounts Unity Trust Bank, 2008
  6. ^ Treanor, Jill Unity Trust Bank ownership set for overhaul after Co-op Bank's stake sale The Guardian, 14 January 2014
  7. ^ The bank for the social economy Unity Trust Bank (retrieved 25 August 2013)
  8. ^ Running Your Account Unity Trust Bank (retrieved 8 February 2015)

External links[edit]