• Jules Peck

Hear what our supporters are saying

Dear followers we thought you'd be interested to see what people are saying about the great progress we are making to launch our regional mutual bank for the West of England.

We have a growing list of supporters across the region and in key roles nationally and have had support for the bank from businesses and business networks, community groups, faith groups and leading figures from across the region.

And having recently had local elections we look forward to working with the new WECA mayor who is supportive of our plans as well as with new leaders and councillors across the region and we are pleased to have cross-party support from MPs, Council Leaders and councillors right across our region.

For example Bristol's Deputy Mayor Craig Cheney has called Avon Mutual "A huge and exciting opportunity". Likewise, Danny Kruger, Devizes MP called for government support of our bank in his recent Levelling Up Communities report saying “We need a new era of community power to replace the era of large public and private bureaucracies….The allocation of private capital in the UK is too short-termist and, by reinforcing success in the South East and the big city centres, it perpetuates inequality between and within regions. A necessary corrective to this is a proper regional banking system, which understands the strengths and needs of an area and supports local businesses over the long term. Good work is being done in this space.

Similarly Salisbury MP John Glen, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister, has said “The Government welcomes the efforts to establish regional mutual banks and recognises the importance of diversity in the banking system. Officials have been engaging with prospective mutual banks over their efforts to raise capital and look forward to further discussions. Your vision for the benefits which mutual banks rooted in local communities could create is compelling and I welcome your efforts to establish regional mutual banks.”

Caroline Lucas, Green MP and twice Leader of the Green Party has said "It's exciting to see a new bank emerging for the West of England, offering services that keep much more money circulating in the local economy for longer while supporting the transition to a greener, fairer economy. We urgently need a network of regional banks like the Avon Mutual, across the UK, to increase the resilience of our local economies, support the dynamic small businesses that are the lifeblood of our communities, increase financial inclusion and to ensure that finance can flow where it is needed to green the UK."

Kevin Hollinrake MP Co-Chair of the APPG on Fair Banking has said of our movement “Given what's at stake and the imperative of building an economy that serves our mutual interest, utterly compelling” and the APPG Vice Chair Lord Holmes who has made proposals for support for our banks.

Bank Of England Governor Andrew Bailey has been vocal in his support for our model and it's also exciting to have Andy Haldane, until recently Chief Economist at the Bank Of England, championing our local banking model and joining as the new CEO at the RSA, who initiated our movement back in 2017.

Other supportive words include the following:

"The relationship you have with your bank can be critical, especially if you are operating in an emerging sector or one deemed to be 'risky' in a conventional bank’s view. There needs to be someone at the bank who can listen, understand and be willing to support the business in the medium and longer term. The big retail banks are not set up in this way, being driven by shareholder value and quarterly reports. They tend not to be concerned about being part of the locality, having little local autonomy in terms of how they operate. It wasn’t always like this and it doesn’t need to be like this, as other countries can demonstrate. So I am very pleased to see the return of the mutual movement in the UK and especially here in the Bristol region with Avon Mutual being established, as a community owned bank, focused on inclusive and sustainable regeneration for our region. It really is something to celebrate.

David Sproxton CBE, Founder Aardman Animations and a supporter and investor in Avon Mutual.

"I have always believed in supporting local initiatives and communities. I founded Localgiving in 2008 and the platform has raised over £30m for local charities since then. So I am particularly please to see that Avon Mutual is doing so well and by year 10 the bank aims to be lending more than £0.5bn of local money within the local economy."

Marcelle Spellor OBE, a supporter and investor in Avon Mutual, Founder, of Localgiving and trustee of New Philanthropy Capital

"At the Green Finance Institute we believe that to achieve the transition to an inclusive, net-zero carbon and climate-resilient economy, both public and private finance is needed. So I'm delighted to see the partnership between the West of England's Local Authorities and Avon Mutual. I'm so impressed with the work Avon Mutual are doing to create a new form of bank which focuses on local knowledge and local relationships to develop financial products such as green mortgage and other sustainability solutions. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with and support Avon Mutuals work".

Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, CEO of the Green Finance Institute and ex Global Head of Green Banking at Barclays

Avon Mutual is making tremendous progress with the ambitious aim of by year 10, lending £0.5bn of local money and having 20 staff branches. It is great to see the priority being given to environmental impact through green mortgages and retrofit secured loans. Avon Mutual is becoming a major contributor to the economy of the West of England.”

Colin Skellet OBE, CEO of Wessex Water, Chair of the Bristol Merchants' Academy schools, of Visit Bath and of YTL Land and Property and Hotels and past Chair of the WoE LEP.

I was very excited by the idea of a bank specifically focussed on this region and set up to take a long-term view assisting small businesses. This is a concept which is very familiar elsewhere in Europe but which, sadly, has been rare in the UK. It is a pleasure to support Avon Mutual which has a strong team in place to turn the concept into a reality. I hope the bank will provide a big boost to the commercial scene in the South West.”

David Freed, a supporter and investor in Avon Mutual is Founder of Deeley Freed Estates and of The Park Community Centre as well as Senior Warden and next Master of the Society of Merchant Venturers

"Having started my career in a women's only bank in Pakistan I know how crucial a bank rooted in its community and understanding its community's needs is. Working in the creative industries I also know how good it will be to have a bank that emphasises relationship banking and takes the time to understand small and creative enterprises. I'm very excited about the plans Avon Mutual has to help build a more inclusive and also a more sustainable economic future for our region".

Mehjabeen Patrick, Chief Finance & Investment Officer at Creative England & Creative Industries Federation, Investment Committee member of the British Design Fund and Board member of the University of Gloucestershire

As Chair of City Funds I’m passionate about seeing the emergence of a more sustainable and inclusive financial system acting for the benefit of all in our region. In these tough times, with Covid-19, the needs are even greater. I’m hugely encouraged to see the emergence of Avon Mutual, and I’m confident that it will have a very significant and positive economic impact on Bristol and the wider region. The venture has my full support.”

Andy Street, a supporter and investor in Avon Mutual and Chair of City Funds, Christian Action Bristol, of InHope and of Fair Shares SW.

Avon Mutual is a great idea in the making providing customer focused retail banking services which embrace sustainability and are value driven.”

Karen Morgan OBE, Merchant Venturer, Chair of Trustees, The Converging World and of The Door, Trustee of Friends of the Cotswolds and of Caring for Communities and People

I am very pleased to note the tremendous progress which has been made. The emergence of the Bank comes at a time when it will make a major impact giving our region's residents and businesses the opportunity to bring forward initiatives which respond to local and national policies to achieve climate change with enormous benefit to the local economy."

Trevor Osborne, a supporter and investor in Avon Mutual is Chair of the Osborne Group, a Trustee of The Holburne Museum, a Governor of Bath Spa University and a member of the Bath Initiative and Greater Bath Ltd

Most of today’s discourse around ‘Building Back Better’ is far more about rhetoric than substance. Plans for the Avon Mutual Community Bank offer real substance, on the ground, across the region, addressing the needs and opportunities of the whole economy, in ways that more than meet people’s higher expectations on fairness, climate and sustainability. This is a hugely exciting development for the Avon region.”

Cheltenham resident Sir Jonathan Porritt CBE, a Founder and past Chair of the Green Party, NED at Wessex Water.

We'd like to thank all of you for continuing to support our work.

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