Barbara Thomas is cancelling her bank accounts with ANZ Murwillumbah for ethical reasons.
Barbara Thomas is cancelling her bank accounts with ANZ Murwillumbah for ethical reasons.

Mur'bah woman ditches bank over environmental concerns

UKI resident Barbara Thomas has been an ANZ customer all her working life, but now she's looking to make a move.

Unimpressed with big banks investing in and lending money to fossil fuel industries, Ms Thomas is putting her money where her mouth is.

"My philosophy is for the environment and social justice, not just huge money-making," she said.

Ms Thomas said she was aware "ethical investing" wouldn't have the highest turnover right now, but she said growing popularity could put the industry into a growth stage.

She said more people would have to change their perceptions before it was possible to abandon fossil fuels.

"We need renewable energy; we need to stop fossil fuels now," she said.

Australian Bankers Association chief executive Steven Munchenberg said customers were entitled to change financial institutions for ethical reasons - but he couldn't say how much impact it would have.

"Banks are very conscious of the fact that communities are concerned about fossil fuels," Mr Munchenberg said.

"But they're not going to stop lending overnight.

"This is something that needs to be addressed over time."

Mr Munchenberg said no bank would like losing even one customer.

Still, he couldn't speculate on how many lost customers would inspire a re-evaluation.

"Banks are always mindful of community concerns and expectations," he said.

Mr Munchenberg said if banks became aware of an issue becoming broadly significant for communities, they would be more likely to consider change.

Learn more

Tweed Climate Action Now is holding a divestment information evening at the Imperial Hotel, Murwillumbah, on Monday at 7pm.

It's for anyone interested in switching banks.

For more on "divestment day", visit marketforces.org.au/divestmentday.



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