Co-op Bank appoints ex-competition chief to head ethics committee

LONDON Tue May 27, 2014 11:58am EDT

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LONDON May 27 (Reuters) - Britain's Co-operative Bank on Tuesday appointed Laura Carstensen, a former deputy chairman of Britain's competition watchdog, to chair a committee set up to safeguard its ethical principles.

Co-op Bank fell under the control of bondholders, including U.S. hedge funds, last year after a 1.5 billion pound ($2.5 billion) funding gap was exposed, raising fears from some customers that its ethical stances, which include not lending to the likes of weapons makers, could be compromised.

In an attempt to reassure customers, the bank's new owners installed commitments to values and ethics into the bank's Articles of Association and set up a committee to ensure it adhered to those standards.

Carstensen, formerly a partner at legal firm Slaughter and May, will join the board of the Co-op Bank as a non-executive director and will lead the ethics committee.

"It is vital for the UK banking system, for society and for The Co-operative Bank that values and ethics is at the heart of what we do," Carstensen said in a statement.

($1 = 0.5936 British Pounds) (Reporting by Matt Scuffham, editing by Louise Heavens)

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