Imagine a bank rooted in and owned by its community and with a mission and business model not to extract value for the few but to mutualise the benefits of finance for all. A bank that helped build a new sustainable and inclusive economy for its region. Now this no longer has to be the stuff of dreams. With your support we are making this a reality here in the West of England and pioneering a model others will follow across the UK.
Avon Mutual is a launching regional full-service community retail bank in the West of England. Through online, phone and branch distribution channels it will offer current accounts, deposits, loans and mortgages to individuals, the self employed, SMEs and the third sector.
Britain is a banking outlier with increasingly remote, centralised, profit-first banks poorly suited to the complex and demanding needs of today’s society and small businesses. In fact, most post-industrial OECD nations have much greater banking diversity than the UK, featuring models commonly referred to as “stakeholder banks” or “values based banks”. In Germany for example 64% of banks are regional and stakeholder banks.
Regional community banks, in touch with and supporting their local economies are commonplace in continental Europe and the USA. Many studies have shown how these community banking models can deliver better economic, environmental and social outcomes for the regions in which they operate.
At Avon Mutual, we see an opportunity to bring these social and economic benefits to the communities of the West of England. Delivering accessible customer-first retail banking through a network of high street branches led by local relationship managers with a sound local knowledge and the time, scope and resources to build valued working relationships with local people and small businesses.
Unlike all other types of businesses, the beauty of a mission oriented, values based bank’s unique role in these issues is by virtue of the multiplier effect banks have and the way they touch every part of our economy through the lives of individuals and through supporting sustainable and inclusive SMEs and start-ups.
Our bank can therefore play a unique multiplier role in a systematic transition in a regional economy to a more sustainable and inclusive footing.
Watch this space! Avon Mutual are currently applying for a licence to become a bank. Although we can't currently provide banking products or services, we are working alongside banking regulators to bring a branch to the high street by 2021.