Our History

When a group of Rochdale tradesmen grouped together in 1844, history was made. The Co‑operative Movement was formed and a business driven by the desire to offer a fairer, ethical approach was born.

When The Co‑operative Bank was founded 28 years later, this vision was at the core – and it still guides the way we work today.

In fact, in 1992, The Co‑operative Bank became the world’s first bank to introduce a customer-led Ethical Policy, and in early 2014 we took this a step further by building our ethics right into our constitution.

Technology. Systems. Digital channels. The ways our customers bank. There’s a lot changing here as we evolve to become even stronger. But our underpinning ethical ethos has always been the same, and always will be.

Listening and responding to our customers’ ever-changing needs is important to us. That’s why we launched our new and improved Ethical Policy in 2015, based on what our customers told us was important to them.

We hold ourselves to account by evidencing how we are different through our customer standards which were co-created with customers to ensure we are delivering against our ethical promise. This is why we can legitimately say “It’s good to be different”. 

Our journey

  1. 1870

  2. 1872

    The Co-operative Bank was formed

  3. 1910

  4. 1919

    The Co-operative College was founded – an educational charity serving the Co-operative sector in the UK and globally

  5. 1960

  6. 1962

    The CIS Tower was built – dominating the Manchester skyline at 387ft (118m). By 2005, it was Europe’s largest solar-powered building.

  7. 1990

  8. 1992

    We became the first bank in the world to introduce a customer-led Ethical Policy

  9. 1999

    We launched ‘smile’, the UK’s first internet bank

  10. 2000

  11. 2009

    The Co-operative Bank merges with Britannia

  12. 2010

  13. 2010

    Winner of the Financial Times 'World’s Most Sustainable Bank Award'

  14. 2012

    Bank branches are rewarded for customer service, not sales

  15. 2012

    We adopt contactless credit cards for the first time

  16. 2013

    The Co-operative Bank became the first bank to roll out talking ATMs for blind and partially sighted customers

  17. 2014

    A new era began at The Co-operative Bank as we separated our business from The Co-operative Group

  18. Today