Robert Owen Community Banking
Ethical fund provides finance for small businesses, home improvements and community energy projects.
Established in 2006, the Robert Owen Community Banking Fund provides ethical loans for local businesses, people and communities across Wales. It aims to keep wealth in the local economy, provide people with affordable finance, support businesses across Wales, and provide training and a co-working space for entrepreneurs.
The bank has won a number of awards, including the Citi Micro-entrepreneurship award, which recognised the fund’s social and community impact. This includes the delivery of their most successful loan service in partnership with Powys County Council, featuring a zero-interest loan fund. The scheme is helping households and enterprises install renewable energy or improve their energy efficiency, as well as generating income from renewable subsidies in the local economy.
CEO Mick Brown said: “This shows that switching to renewables and reducing energy consumption is good for the environment but even better for our local economy. Local trades have benefited significantly from the zero interest finance available to householders across Powys.
“Powys-based renewable energy installers, builders and energy efficiency specialists are all playing their part in growing our local economy while reducing our carbon footprint.”
Tags Community banks
New rules needed
Policies that can help unleash the potential of this or similar initiatives across the UK.
Introduce a Co-operative Economy Act
A legal framework tailored to the needs of co-operatives and supportive of their future development.
Cap the cost of credit
Credit cards and other debt need to be regulated like payday loans.
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.
Launch a national investment bank
National investment banks can steer capital towards public priorities and economic transformation.
Create new sources of finance for co-ops
Create financial instruments and institutions tailored to the needs of the co-operative economy.
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.