Thursday, 14 February 2013

Called to Account

The Student Finance, England website is open for applying for student loans now, but applicants need to nominate a bank account for the funds to go into.

One evening I am out teaching and I return to find that Carenza, at least, has settled down with her father and applied for a student bank account.

“Which bank?” I ask, my nose out of joint at being out of the loop.

“Co-op,” she says.

Immediately,  I warm up.  The Co-op is well-known as an ethical investor. It always seems to me that my generation of students was more politically involved, campaigning against all manner of abuses. In the early eighties, my friends and I boycotted Barclays because it invested so heavily in South Africa, thus backing Apartheid.  “Barclays money, blood money: disinvest now” we would chant as we tramped by on one of our innumerable protest marches. Although the situation has now changed completely, I still feel guilty if I use a Barclays cashpoint.

“That’s brilliant,” I say, “I take it you chose the Co-op because of its investment policies.”

“Actually, it’s because it offers a really large guaranteed overdraft – it’s important when you’re learning to manage money that you don’t pay huge charges every time you go overdrawn.”

Oh.  Well, I guess Nelson Mandela IS out of prison now.  And it’s brilliant that a bank with such a clean slate can offer students a deal that makes financial sense too.

Carenza and her father found good advice at