You can Bank on Dave – today Burnley, tomorrow, well who knows!?

Francis O’Neill

Here’s a story that could inspire you to greater things – a ‘builder’s labourer makes good‘ story!?   Well yes and a whole lot more than that.

Bank on Dave
Dave Fishwick – courtesy BS&L Ltd

If you live in the UK you will have probably heard of entrepreneur Dave Fishwick by now, with his fight to set up a community bank in Burnley.  If you don’t live in the UK well stick around as this may be of real interest to you – it might give you ideas.

A little backdrop to Dave’s story

Dave sought to set up the bank, from back in the dark days of 2008, after customers for his Burnley minibus company could no longer get the finances needed from their banks to purchase new buses – we’re talking credit crunch and the resulting mess our banks have helped to put us in.  So he decided he would set up a bank himself, to lend businesses the money – and the saga unfolded from there.

Taking on the FSA

There have now been two Channel 4 documentaries detailing Dave’s highs and lows – particularly dealing with the dos and don’ts, the learning curves of challenging the Financial Services Authority (the FSA who control banking in the UK), who weren’t so keen at first to endorse his activities – but are doing so now to some degree.  This has nothing to do with him gaining political momentum mind – or so we may assume.

One got the impression, from the documentaries, that the FSA were hoping Dave would just sort of drop the bank idea or run out of money (which he very nearly did) if they waited long enough and withheld the ‘thumbs up’.

This shouldn’t come as a great surprise in context, as the FSA have a lot of interest to protect, and won’t allow just anyone to willy-nilly set up a bank.  Of course ‘interest’ is probably the key word here too as Dave, or should we say, his bank – heck no, his ‘shop’ – we’re not really allowed to call it a ‘bank’ at the mo at least – and his loyal team, were threatening to upstage the high street banks by offering a better than competitive 5% AER rate of interest to savers (with 100% guarantee from Dave) and a low, between 8.9 – 14.9%, interest on lending to local businesses.  But now, having won some FSA support that has all changed – what I mean is that it is no longer a threat – it’s for real, it’s happened!  Yes visit Burnley Savings and Loans Ltd to find it’s all real – and you can pledge support for Dave there too.

The second Channel 4 documentary, shown on February 28th, underlined his determination to win this battle, in his battle bus, with the FSA, to become a community bank, and not only help businesses and savers but also, would you credit it, to put profits into local charities too.  This sounds like the best practice of a consumer society – when it begins to look after people aswell as profits.  Maybe this is what Maggie Thatcher – R.I.P. – actually envisaged in her ‘free economy’ beliefs.


Picture of Prosperity program coverBut it wasn’t so much his journey to setting up of a bank that caught my attention.  Rather it was Dave’s infectious personality that grabbed my interest – his ‘Never give up!’ approach to life.  ‘The guy is incorrigible!’, as my better three-quarters described him.  One can’t help but admire his northern directness and tenacity, or that easy smile that lets you know he has a plan and the determination to see it through.  His ‘can do’ approach is an attitude we could probably all learn from.  Okay perhaps close young ears to some of the more colourful language that goes with the ‘can do’ on occasion – I’m back with the tv programme here, where he left us in no doubt from which direction he was coming from, and that he was in no mood to pull his punches.

A latter-day Robin Hood

To call him a latter-day Robin Hood is probably stretching it a bit – he doesn’t live in Sherwood Forest for a start, and he’s a business man for seconds – but he does have a merry team and people supporting his adventures, and all the hallmarks of a people’s champion.  He’s there for the common man – and woman of course.  I have a suspicion he holds an important key to our coming out of our UK Recession – perhaps even a key to solving the World Recession.  But then you don’t get too many Dave Fishwick’s to the pound, and we ain’t about to let him go – talk about Britain’s Got Talent, and where’s there’s a will there’s a way.  In this country he is certainly having impact, with the support of Steve Baker MP, and as you would see in the second documentary, he is already beginning to have some influence on possible changes to the Finance Bill and banking policy.  His story continues…

Follow this link to get the story from Dave himself – and check out the Channel 4 documentary – note you may need to register before you can watch it.

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