As public trust in the banking sector has been destroyed news of alternatives is welcomed. One economist, Professor Scott Cato, who has launched a campaign and petition to strip Barclays of its licence, reminded us in her Sky News interview:
”There are places where people could save and borrow money, such as the Credit Union and banks which have strong ethical investment credentials like the Co-operative and Triodos”
Her warning: “Let this be very clear: if the coalition government will not reform, restructure and clean up our banking system then we, the citizens, can.”
Discontent with the banks is rife everywhere, and in Burnley, a former cotton town, among the country’s most deprived, the Financial Times and other sources report a citizen’s innovation:
Colne businessman David Fishwick started his own lending institution to support a television show after becoming infuriated with the banking industry. In 2008 he started providing finance to help cash-strapped customers to buy his minibuses.
He set up a savings and loans institution which offers 5% annual interest, and lends it to local businesses at 8.9%, offering a personal guarantee to make good any losses. Profit left after paying the three staff of Burnley Savings and Loans is given to charity.
The prime importance of mentoring is emphasised by Mr Fishwick – as it is by Birmingham’s Aston Reinvestment Trust. This is compared by Keith Turner with the role of the traditional bank manager who regularly used to talk with his local business clients.
“We may not have much money but we have common sense”
His “bank” will not lend more than £25,000 a week and has a two-year waiting list.
Keith and Christine Turner, creators of the famous Malkin Pie, who own San-Witches in the heart of Pendle, in the lovely village of Sabden, could have lost all if Mr Fishwick had not stepped in with £8,500 loan over four years.
David Fishwick hopes to meet David Cameron and advocate the setting up of other community-based institutions set up, recycling money locally. He has upgraded his software and is working towards the coveted banking licence:
“We’ll keep going. We’re offering a ray of hope.”