Issue - meetings
Meeting: 30/09/2019 - Cabinet (Item 36)
Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report by the Director of Finance and Investment which informed the Cabinet that local authorities had a role to play in shaping regional financial services as part of their policies and partnerships. These policies and partnerships supported residents, developed local economies and met strategic objectives for promoting economic development; and also supporting small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) business growth and financial inclusion for all members of the Wirral community.
The Cabinet noted that the current UK banking institutions and infrastructure did not provide a diverse and inclusive financial service. Many individuals and businesses had been excluded from a basic banking offer, as they were considered unprofitable or too risky, within the standard banking business model. In the Wirral environment, this had been noticeable in multiple branch closures, withdrawal of free to use ATMs and increased reliance on a digital offer.
The impact of this had been keenly felt by the most vulnerable individuals and businesses. Reduced access to basic banking services had increased costs, placed unfair limitations when accessing other services / products and had reduced social mobility.
Councillor Williamson reported that a growing number of local authorities were now investing in community banks, challenger banks and other initiatives outside the mainstream financial services sector to help meet their local priorities.
Wirral and other authorities in Cumbria, Lancashire and Merseyside (the North West) had the opportunity to support the setting up of a regional bank called the North West Mutual (NWM) Bank.
The Cabinet was informed that the Community Savings Bank Association, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority was seeking to develop 19 regional community banking models across the UK, with London and the South West already in the pipeline and Wales and some other regions following close behind.
Prior to and once established, the Bank would need to approach potential social investors and regional anchor institutions, that shared the social and economic ethos of the mutual, to invest circa £20m of the share capital required. The Cabinet noted that it was intended to hold a potential investor day together with Liverpool and Preston Councils, once the appointment of the banking expert had been made.
It was noted that a due diligence exercise would review the case to establish a North West Regional Community Bank (The Bank) creating a regional community bank for the North West of England covering Cumbria, Lancashire and Merseyside.
The Cabinet also noted that the Council could use due diligence information that Regional Partners provided in conjunction with internally-sourced demographic information. This had not been explored further as the scale and reach of the project would benefit from an expert approach, and provide greater insight in specific requirements for Wirral residents and businesses.
This matter affected all Wards within the Borough and was a key decision.
Appended to the report was:
· Appendix A - Background to CSBA and recent history of Regional Mutual Banks; and
· Appendix B – A detailed analysis of Wirral Demographic Financial Inclusion.
Councillor Williamson told the Cabinet ... view the full minutes text for item 36