A Regional Mutual Bank for Northern Ireland Webinar

28 Aug 2020 Kathy Maguire    Last updated: 6 Sep 2020

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NICVA recently hosted an Information webinar on the campaign to develop a regional Mutual Bank in Northern Ireland.

Hosted by NICVAs  Policy and Public Affairs team in this interactive webinar we were joined by representatives from the Our Money campaign. This campaign is working to establish a regional mutual bank in Northern Ireland. 

Dr Bridget Meehan and Tiziana O’Hara, co-founders of the campaign in Northern Ireland discussed proposals for the development of a mutual bank across the region and  outlined what they believe to be the key benefits of the model to the needs of individuals and communities in Northern Ireland.

What is a mutual bank?

Mutual banking is:

  • An ethical, trustworthy, customer owned bank serving local people, local businesses, and communities.
  • An alternative approach to banking as we know it.
  • Moves away from the privatised system that exists now.
  • Moves towards a democratised system that gives local people a say in how their money can be used for local peoples benefit and the benefit of our region.
  • It is a member led model,with decision making made by members  irrespective of the income they may generate for the bank. 

 

What are its’ benefits and why would it be good for the people of Northern Ireland?

The campaigners believe a regional Mutual Bank model  owned and controlled by the people who live here, could allow individuals, communities, businesses and public sector bodies to have control over its wealth and ensure it’s used for local benefit.

They outlined how they believe the model might redress regional inequalities, make financial inclusion the norm, help build and store community wealth and contribute to building regional economic resilience.

They outlined key features of the model as:

  • Mutual – it is owned by members/customers, not by shareholders; and it is accountable to members.  
  • Regional – serves the Northern Ireland region only; members live in the region; the model recycles money back into region; and prioritises the needs of local communities and businesses.
  • Ethical – it is not profit-driven; prioritises what’s best for the people, society and the environment of the region.
  • Inclusive – no one is refused an account and the model will proactively target needs they believe are not well met by current financial institutions such as those who are financially excluded, small business and local arts and community sectors.
  • Resilient – helps build regional economic resilience and by building and store community wealth, gives us more control over our own money so as a region we can manage climate and other crises.

How is the model being progressed :

  • The local campaign is being supported by the Community Savings Bank Association (CSBA).
  • The CSBA https://www.csba.co.uk/  has a vision is to start a new movement of 19 regional banks (including NI) to  serve the every day financial needs of small and medium sized companies, ordinary people and local community groups.
  • The CSBA banking model provides an A-Z package for starting a bank, including licensing process, financial modelling, agreements with key suppliers, legal forms and constitutional documents for a customer owned bank. These have been agreed and registered with the FCA as model rules.
  • The CSBA model is supporting the development of mutual banks in other regions and have launched campaigns e.g. Greater London Mutual, Avon, South West, Wales, North East England, North West England.
  • The CSBA suggest the Investment capital necessary to establish a regional mutual  bank is approx. £20m.
  • Work is already well underway in Wales https://www.csba.co.uk/region/wales-cymru/ to create a customer owned bank with the Welsh Government lending  its support and pledging the necessary £20 million investment .It is anticipated that the Bank will begin to operate before the end of the current Welsh Assembly term, spreading to the whole of Wales after the next Assembly election.

Locally the Our Money campaign say :

  • They are growing support, meeting with key individuals, groups and communities of interest.
  • They have assembled a Steering Committee to take the bank through the licensing and development stages.
  • They are asking for individual and organisational support to:
    • Spread the word about the model and its benefits.
    • Lobby key local decision makers such as local councils to help support its development.
    • Pledge to become a member https://www.csba.co.uk/local-bank/.

Watch the webinar here:

A Regional Mutual Bank for Northern Ireland Webinar from nicva-editor on Vimeo.

 

For more information of the Our Money Campaign please contact:

The opinions, views or comments in this article do not necessarily reflect any views or policies of NICVA.
kathy.maguire@nicva.org's picture
by Kathy Maguire

Policy Development Officer

[email protected]

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