Ruth Sunderland

All banking should be ethical, all of the time

The Co-operative Bank, an ethical lender based in Manchester, has extraordinarily loyal customers. Why, you might wonder, is having loyal customers so extraordinary? Well, in the case of Co-op Bank, you could hardly blame them if they took their accounts elsewhere. The fact so many have stayed put, despite the bank’s spectacular fall from grace,

Overlooking the childfree is a mistake

Politicians fight over lots of different issues in general election campaigns, but one theme is a constant: they all try to appeal to ‘hard-working families’, by which they seem to mean mum, dad and a couple of kids. It’s well-intentioned, I’m sure. But I’m equally sure I can’t be the only non-parent who finds it

The joy of dividends

There was no shortage of momentous events in 1997. It was 20 years ago that Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister on a wave of New Labour optimism, Britain handed Hong Kong back to China and Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris. Less earth-shatteringly, the former Alliance & Leicester building society and the

How to understand the human side of a financial crisis: read a book

One of the occupational pleasures, and occasional hazards, of being a financial journalist is the need to keep up with your reading. I’ve consumed a stack of books about the financial crisis and its aftermath, including Michael Lewis’s The Big Short and Vicky Ward’s riveting account of the downfall of Lehman Brothers, Devil’s Casino, notable

Cheer up, you’re better off than you think

‘I’m not loaded, I’m just ordinary,’ protested a wealthy friend of mine, when another chum teased him about his money. ‘Oh yes,’ his tormentor responded wryly, ‘you’re one of those ordinary millionaires, not one of the rich ones.’ It made me smile, and it also made me think. Many of us, like my well-cushioned chum,

Marathon mortgages you’ll be paying off for life

When the baby-boomer generation bought their first homes they were typically in their twenties, took out a 25-year loan, and fully expected to be mortgage-free long before they hit the big Six-Oh. Bring on the cruises and the two-seater sports cars. With an empty nest, no debts to speak of and a final salary pension, life