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Cooperative Bank account application declined for applicants from overseas


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Here are my experiences with applying for my first UK-based bank account at Cooperative Bank, just to warn others of the unhelpfulness of this so self-asserted ethical bank.

- after a lengthy process of application for an account via snailmail (there are no Coop branches near by where I live), and after having already recieved approval, the application was suddenly declined without giving reasons, there was no possibility to clarify what was wrong and whether and how it could be sorted out, instead I was suggested to write a complaints letter. Other banks that I tried later were able to open an account for me ad hoc and had no problems with my data whatsover.

- forms provided online and advice given on the phone are only suited for longterm UK residents with an existing bank account, there is no flexibility for dealing with issues like: previous address abroad or having only recently gained a permanent address, having no bank account at

- in addition, people talking to me on the service line seemed to be not well-trained, they did not know how their application forms looked like, one even addmitted that she'd never gone through them herself


I'd really loved to join a good bank but Cooperative Bank turned out extremely intransparent and unhelpful. So I am back with the bad banks, congratulations!

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  • 2 years later...

I had a similar experience as a 30+ year customer trying to open a student account for my son on him moving to the UK last year. I received different advice from 4 individuals in the bank. Eventually (after several weeks) I received a paper application form which I submitted with supporting docs. It was rejected with no reason and he was told that to find the reason he would have to pay £10 and contact Experian so clearly a credit check failure issue. This is not surprising given he had no presence in the UK and no address! I had explained this in every call to the Coop prior to the application and I was assured that it was not an issue....he was peeved so went across the road to Barclays and an account was opened with 2 days.I suspect that the individual in Student Accounts just processed this application as all others as doing anything else would take some additional effort given the lack of procedure for non-UK applicants. Staff are always pleasant but not always competent and management even less so, especially when it comes to processes to deal with anything that is an exception or minority, such as non-UK clients. Shame, given the lack of ethical alternatives....

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