A Local organisation, providing Local savings and loans, to local people, with dividends and profits going back to local people and local causes.
I do not think this is too much to ask.
And today this is a reality.
I want a bank that is based in the community, run by someone from that community, with profits going back to that community - like a German Sparkassen .... rather than that which you call Lloyds / HSBC or another of the big banks, who are based so far away in so many ways, and who struggle - despite the best efforts of local staff - to be a truly local bank.
To that end we have done many things:
First we have changed the law to make it easier to set up local community banks and enhanced credit unions. I spent a large part of the last parliament doing this.
Then we started by setting out our vision and an idea of a community bank / beefed up credit union would look like and work upwards from that. For more details of what our plans are read here:
We have set out to convert people locally with regional banking events in Gateshead and elsewhere covered by the media and featuyring local successes in banking:
Finally, we are taking steps to expland our offer to cover not just those in fuel poverty but anyone who is struggling with pay day lenders and / or are unbanked; we are also unashamedly seeking to attrract middle class savers, which is the perennial failing of an old style credit union. This has been a journey of many years but we have much more news to follow. I am spending a lot of the spring and summer taking this forward.
We are now beginning to take shape locally with
- a number of local champions across Tynedale
- a proper board of key local supporter and community leaders
- a partnership, and common bond, with the Prince Bishops Bank in Stanley, County Durham
- a formal proper launch today, after several months of soft launches, visits to interested parish councils, oil buying clubs, and discussions with clergy and commuinties.
We are fully regulated and your money is as secure as is it were in a high street bank.
As always, we need volunteers interested in contributing by action or outreach, fundraising and engaging with the wider community. This is an utterly apolitical project. Anyone interested should get in touch with me and I will pass on details of the key players taking forward this exciting project in our community.
Or you can visit our website at www.tynedalecommunitybank.org.uk
Application forms can be found there too.