Last week, the news broke that my bank (ING) is going to scan through your statements to give you personalised advertisements. (Link is in Dutch, since this is a Dutch bank.)
I am vehemently opposed to this: not only should a bank stay out of my business if they are not explicitly invited to do so, but the very concept of personalised advertisements is exactly the vector that is used to erode our privacy and to deliver fascism to the world. To put it mildly: I am not a fan.
Yes, you can turn it off (the idiots even made it opt-out instead of opt-in!), but I’ve had enough. I’m going to switch banks. Switching banks could be a hassle, but there is a handy switching service that almost all banks are a part of, so that should be relatively painless.
In the Netherlands, we have two banks that profile themselves as ‘good’ banks, with respect for people and the environment. Banks that, for instance, do not invest in weapons manufacturers. One of those is Triodos, which is an independent bank — which I like, because the profits do not go to a larger banking conglomerate that does not share the values of the ‘good’ bank. So I took a peek at the “Fair Money Guide” (again, in Dutch) which is a cooperation between organisations promoting human rights, the environment and workers’ rights to rank the banks operating in the Netherlands against several criteria.
I took a look at the scores of Triodos, and it all looked quite decent. So I announced my intention to move to Triodos on Twitter and started the process to apply for an account.
And then a colleague pointed out that the ASN Bank scored slightly better than Triodos on many things. But the ASN is part of a larger bank (de Volksbank, which is state-owned after the government had to bail them out during the banking crisis), so I had my concerns. The ASN Twitter account actually replied to this conversation to point out that all three labels of de Volksbank follow the same principles — so the conglomerate as a whole is ‘good’.
Digging a bit deeper, there was all kinds of strange stuff coming up about Triodos. For instance, they’re based on anthroposophic principles. I love the accompanying architecture (I’ve did some work for a client who were housed in an office built on anthroposophic principles and I loved it there), but the mysticism I like… decidedly less. And it turns out that Triodos finances things like “Homeopaths without Borders” (like Docters without Borders, but then bringing quackery to those in need instead of actual medicine), or a homophobic evangelical group.
That’s not my definition of ‘good’, to say the least.
So I’m in the process of applying for an ASN account. I will literally put my money where my mouth is.