The road to resilience: how community financial services can help level-up Britain
A wonderful report out from the RSA detailing the crucial role our bank and its wider movement will play in building our economy back to resilience, inclusivity and sustainability.
The report concludes that our movement needs capital and support to prosper. Its key recommendations are as follows:
The Bank of England to fund the creation of Local Investment and Finance Trusts (LIFTs), whose function is to investigate, support and capitalise the community stakeholder banking layer.
Central government to support the development of the community banking sector by providing match funding to councils, and making sure community banks are eligible for tax reliefs and state capital investments.
Local government should seek to convene discussion between key stakeholders in order to agree principles of investment for community financial support and to share best practice.
An independent review into diversifying local investment and lending models.
A review of the British Business Bank and how it can support community stakeholder banking.
We need to ensure that those already financially excluded are not further cut off from financial services as cash continues to decline. We urge the Government to introduce already-announced legislation to protect free access to cash.
To ensure there is not an abrupt end to cash that exacerbates financial exclusion, particularly in more rural or marginalised communities, the Government should work with the industry and communities to reduce the cost of cash infrastructure.
Immediate action is required to outline the process of deciding which companies to back and which to let go when it comes to repaying government endorsed loans.
We need to get serious about futureproofing our financial services, to ensure everyone can participate in the digital economy in the longer term. A future strategy should include a Central Bank Digital Currency in order to a avoid private monopoly.
Open Banking and Open Finance presents a huge opportunity to give people more control over their financial data and drive digital innovation, so products work better for customers. A social investment fund should be introduced to support the development of new products that benefit citizens.
In order to tackle digital divides - that risk becoming mass disenfranchisement - this agenda needs to be underpinned by ensuring all homes can access full fibre broadband by 2025.
A propose a Citizens’ Council on Financial Purpose to develop a new shared vision of what a productive and purposeful financial sector that serves people and places might look like.