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It's been announced that The Co-op Bank has been put up for sale, but what does it mean for those who bank with it? If you're a customer, you're undoubtedly wondering how a future sale will impact you, so we take a closer look at the background, as well as what happens next.
Why is it selling?
The bank said it has decided to begin the sales process and "consider alternative options to build our capital position for the future". This essentially means that it needs to look for other ways to meet its funding requirements, something that's been particularly difficult in the low interest rate environment, following the near-collapse of the bank in 2013 when a £1.5bn black hole was discovered in its finances.
It's still working on its turnaround plan and the sale is thought to be a key way to achieve that, but it stresses that no outcome has yet been decided, and the sale is dependent on getting the right deal. This all sounds very technical, but what does it actually mean for customers?
"Today's announcement has no direct impact on the products you have with us or the service we provide for you," the statement said. "As we go through the process, it remains very much business as usual, and our number one priority is to continue to provide the high quality service that is valued by our customers."
Hopefully, this means that not too much will change, at least not in the near term. Customers' money is completely safe, says the bank, and it's still ensuring that its ethical banking proposition is maintained. This approach will "remain a key consideration", with the bank adding that it's "committed to providing excellent customer service for our 4 million valued customers".
But if you're one of those 4 million customers, should you start to look elsewhere? Well, while you could, you probably don't have to. The key message is to not panic or make any rash decisions – no sale has happened yet, and the bank is still fulfilling its obligations, so as it says, it remains business as usual.
For the time being, the only thing that should encourage you to switch is if you're not happy with the service you're getting, and with the Switch Guarantee, it's never been easier to take the plunge. It never hurts to look around and see what else is out there – which applies whether you're a customer of Co-op Bank or any other – so check out our current account and savings Best Buys to see if you can get a better deal.
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