Advice for Groups & Districts
Woodcraft Folk encourages groups and districts to open accounts with Unity Trust Bank. Unity is a socially-responsible banking provider, established by the UK’s trade union movement. Our agreement with Unity ensures that we benefit from reduced account charges and ensures that Woodcraft Folk has effective oversight of the charity’s finances.
What are the benefits of moving to Unity Trust Bank?
Moving accounts to Unity will reduce overall costs for Woodcraft Folk. Each account is charged an annual fee of £6 per month with Unity Trust Bank, but unlike “free” accounts provided to charities by high street banks there are no transaction charges. The monthly fee is less than that charged to Woodcraft Folk by the Co-op Bank on the accounts held with them.
Woodcraft Folk is aware that switching providers will mean additional work for volunteers – groups are encouraged to consider moving to Unity when they can in the coming months. Ultimately, we will require all local accounts to be held with Unity.
At present we would encourage you to think about moving and to move if you can. Ultimately, all bank accounts will have to be with Unity Trust Bank.
Opening an account at Unity Trust Bank
Districts/Groups must be registered with Woodcraft Folk before they can open an account at Unity Trust Bank. Full guidance on opening accounts can be downloaded from this page..
Note that a Unity Trust Bank Account can have up to four signatories, who must all be Woodcraft Folk members.
Changing a signatory on a Unity Trust Bank account
Signatories on a Unity Trust Bank account can be changed using an online form. Please advise the membership team at Folk Office when you update signatories on the account by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Changing a signatory for a Co-op Bank account
To change signatories on an existing Co-op account you need to download and print a ‘Change of Signatories’ form from the Co-op bank website. Please complete the form to the best of your ability and return to the Co-op. In addition to submitting this form to the bank you’ll also need an authorisation letter from Folk Office who will confirm that the new signatories are members of Woodcraft Folk. If some of your existing signatories are no longer available to complete the relevant sections of the form please contact email@example.com for advice.
Closing bank accounts
There are several reasons to close accounts that are either dormant, have very few transactions or small balances:
- Unity and Co-op Banks levy account charges on each account. The Co-op Bank charges Folk Office instead of the Districts, so you may not have noticed them, but they cost Woodcraft Folk money
- Having fewer accounts makes the annual financial return, at the end of the year, simpler because there are fewer accounts to consolidate
- It reduces the risk of losing touch with signatories, which can happen when a long time passes after an account becomes dormant – if signatories can’t be contacted, it can cause complications when the account is closed, even if the account has a zero balance.
How to close Co-op Bank accounts
You can close Co-op bank accounts using one of the forms available from their website. Choose the correct form for your particular circumstances (e.g. the “No Longer Trading” form for a group that has closed).
You need your normal signatories to authorise the closure, so it’s best to do this whilst they are around. If you’ve lost contact with signatories, email Folk Office for support. Once the form is complete, send it to the address on the form – note that the address may be in very small letters at the end of the form).
Using the form you can get the balance transferred to another account.
After closing an account
After closing an account you should receive a final bank statement confirming closure. You’ll need to send a copy of this with the annual financial return at year end.