• Big 5 banks targeted as part of Global Divestment Day movement

• 6 protests planned for bank branches invested in fossil fuels

• Over 1,400 account holders set to leave the big 5 banks this weekend,with more expected to follow suit after weekend of protests

The British public look set to be voting with their feet, with thousands predicted to switch their banking provider this weekend, as Britain's biggest banks become the latest victims of the growing divestment movement.

Almost 2 in 5 Brits say they would be unhappy if they found out their money was being used to fund fossil fuels, whilst 36% actively want their bank to divest from fossil fuels. [1]

With more than £66 billion invested in fossil fuel extraction in 2012 alone, [2] the "Big 5" banks have been targeted by citizens and campaigners as part of the global divestment movement.

This weekend Global Divestment Day will see over 400 events across 6 continents calling for institutions to boycott investment in fossil fuels – including pension funds, universities, faith groups and banks. [3] To date, the fossil fuel divestment movement is the fastest growing divestment movement in history, [4] securing divestment pledges totalling over £30 billion. [5]

Fionn Travers-Smith, spokesman for Move Your Money, said:

"Britain's biggest banks have been using peoples' money to fund fossil fuels and climate change for too long, and the public simply don't want to support these socially and environmentally catastrophic industries.

Coal (PD)More than 1,400 UK account holders have pledged to move their money out of fossil fuel banks if they won't divest. But the big banks are simply refusing to budge – preferring to greenwash their activities and ignore their massive investments in fossil fuels instead.

With banks so clearly refusing to consider their impact on people and planet, its up to each of us to take a stand – by moving our money out of fossil fuel funding banks. And people are already leaving in their droves."

Bank switching was up by 22% last year, after the Current Account Switching Service made changing bank providers easier, quicker and safer to do. [6]

Since then, six of the eight bank brands owned by the Big 5 banking groups have seen net losses of customers, suggesting that continued fossil fuel funding and the ongoing scandals in the banking sector are eroding confidence in established providers. [7]

"The public is sick with inaction on climate change, and the divestment movement has enabled hundreds of thousands of people across the globe to take matters into their own hands.

"With a never-ending slew of bank scandals and the divestment movement growing so rapidly, real people are taking a stand and moving their money out of the banks that are driving climate change.

"Fossil fuel investments are toxic assets for the planet, and they are swiftly becoming toxic for bank reputations too. The big banks must stop using our money to fund climate chaos, or risk becoming as obsolete as the fossil fuels they fund," Fionn Travers-Smith said.

[1] One Poll & Abundance Generation, The Great British Money Survey, September 2014 – http://docs.abundancegeneration.com/GBMoneySurvey.xlsx

[2] Move Your Money, Divest!, October 2014 –
http://moveyourmoney.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Move-Your-Money-Divest-Full-Report.pdf

[3] For more information about Global Divestment Day see – http://gofossilfree.org/uk/global-divestment-day/

[4] Guardian, Campaign Against Fossil Fuels Growing, October 2013 – http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/08/campaign-against-fossil-fuel-growing

[5] Reuters, – http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/22/un-climatechange-rockefellers-idUSL2N0RN05J20140922

[6] Payments Council Switching Data, September 2014 – http://www.paymentscouncil.org.uk/media_centre/press_releases/-/page/3139/

[7] Payments Council Switching Data – Participant Breakdown – http://www.paymentscouncil.org.uk/switch_service/current_account_switch_service_data/participant_data/

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