We’re Changing our Bank
We decided to change from HSBC to a more ethical bank, Starling. It only affects the way you pay us, so please excuse the nuisance. Check how ethical your own bank is here, at the bank.green website.
Changes you’ll see on our invoices:
- different format
- less flexible payee name
- new sort code and account number
We plan to use Starling’s bookkeeping software. These changes may take some time as we adopting it gradually. If you pay monthly for support and hosting, please be patient and we’ll contact you.
That’s all – no need to read any more unless you want to.
We started the business, back in 1984, with an account at the Midland Bank, on the High Street in Portishead. In March 1992, HSBC acquired the Midland in one of the biggest business mergers of the time.
That makes us loyal customers for 48 years! We’ve had no complaints in all that time, and having a manned branch nearby when others are closing has been very convenient.
However, our enthusiasm has waned in recent years as we became more conscious of the damage we humans are doing to Planet Earth.
Why We Decided to Change
Sadly, HSBC is not a green bank and this doesn’t chime with our environmental policy.
- invested in fossil fuels and has no firm plans to cut exposure
- heavily involved with China, backing the clampdown in Hong Kong
- China is an autocracy and it is heavily invested in UK infrastructure: reliance on it for our infrastructure is similar to Germany’s position on Russian gas
Why We Chose Starling Bank
Starling scores well and definitely avoids funding climate-damaging activities. Read more about Starling Bank here.
- green and ethical, with a good zero emissions plan
- they don’t invest in, or serve, organisations that damage the planet
- integrated bookkeeping system that works with our bank account
- free banking, since we don’t run an overdraft
- several best bank awards in recent years, including 2022
Don’t forget to check how ethical your own bank is here, at the bank.green website.
Starling’s account application process is largely computerized. Thankfully, there is a team of human decision-makers, to back up the system. The issues we encountered were,
- we don’t use formal contracts, required to prove we’re in business
- Confirmation of Payee is very strict, and doesn’t handle “trading as”
- signatories must be directors
First, before they’d even open the account, they wanted a formal contract, signed by both us and a client. If you’ve done business with us, you’ll know that we work informally, so we don’t have one. We provided a proposal, which quotes a fixed price and links to the terms of business on our website. Then we sent them a copy invoice, and a bank statement to prove it had been paid.
With the account set up, we tried a few test payments, in and out. These revealed another problem: they can’t handle trading names. Nobody quotes our company name (M A Fielden & Co Ltd) on payments: it’s always BlueTree. Our solution was to change the company name, so we’re now BlueTree Website Design Limited. They’re still quite strict: Ltd gives a partial match but nothing else seems to work.
Only directors can be signatories on the account, and we have only one. We’ll have to appoint another…