Avon Mutual is one of a new breed of community-owned banks that aim to put people and the planet first.
Avon Mutual was established in 2017 to create a regional co-operative bank for the West of England covering Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and North Somerset. The bank is being launched as part of wider plans to create a UK network of customer-owned, regional banks helping ordinary people, local community groups, and small and medium-sized companies who traditionally struggle to be approved by large high-street chains. The aim is to gain the banking license and open the first branches in mid 2020.
Founding Director Jules Peck explained: “I’ve been lucky enough to have lived right across the wonderful region of the West, growing up in the rural Cotswolds and Cheltenham, then rural Forest of Dean and super-urban Bristol. Although I’ve also lived in London, Brussels, Seville and Australia I returned to my roots here about ten years ago and so it feels a real privilege to be able to give something back by helping this revolution in banking take place here in my home patch.
“Anyone who knows this area knows that it’s on fire with all sorts of community-led initiatives building a new community wealth based economy. It makes the region the perfect place to be launching this new bank.
“We’ll be partnering with everyone from local authorities and universities to Transition groups, Bristol and Bath Regional Capital, Bristol Pound, community energy groups, credit unions and a host of others who are important anchor institutions in the region’s community wealth building ecosystem.”
Tags Community banks
New rules needed
Policies that can help unleash the potential of this or similar initiatives across the UK.
Expand the community and co-operative banking sector
Stakeholder banks can be mandated to serve the public interest or local communities rather than simply to maximise returns.
Create new sources of finance for co-ops
Create financial instruments and institutions tailored to the needs of the co-operative economy.
Launch a national investment bank
National investment banks can steer capital towards public priorities and economic transformation.
Cap the cost of credit
Credit cards and other debt need to be regulated like payday loans.
Introduce a Co-operative Economy Act
A legal framework tailored to the needs of co-operatives and supportive of their future development.
Turn RBS into a network of local banks
New banks would be owned in trust for the public benefit and mandated to lend only within their local area.