Bank sign

North West local authority community bank moves a step closer

Plans to establish a community bank in the North West have taken a step closer after the next stages of the project were approved by Preston City Council.

The backing will allow North West Mutual Bank, a joint venture between Preston City Council, Liverpool City Council and Wirral Council, to begin the process of applying for a banking license.

It will also see steps made in establishing North West Mutual Bank, which registered with the Financial Conduct Authority in May 2020, with the required trademarks and other intellectual property required to operate as a bank.

The announcement comes following the launch of Community Wealth Building 2.0, a commitment by Preston City Council to continue building a democratic economy in the city.

The council believes the community bank will play a key role in this work by striving to address regional inequalities and providing services and support to a diverse range of business and community ventures in the region.

Commenting, Preston City Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building, Councillor Freddie Bailey said: "This is an exciting step in our project to bring community banking to the North West.

"With many high street banks closing, it's an important time to offer local people and businesses an alternative that will put people over profit and reinvest funds into our communities.

"We are pleased to be working with other local authorities in the region to get this project off the ground, which will play a key role in giving small enterprises in the region the kick-start they need to succeed."

Preston City Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, Councillor Martyn Rawlinson added: "Small businesses have felt the effects of the pandemic most and will need support to bounce back and thrive.

“By working with a community bank, small businesses and community focussed projects can get the best services and advice from an organisation that understands their work and the communities they serve.

"As we look to rebuild from the pandemic, it is important that we place people above profit and take bold and innovative action to bring real social value to the places we live by investing in small businesses and community projects that give back to their communities.

“The community bank is an important step in this journey."

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