Piles of coins (money)

11 June 2020

Residents and small businesses will soon be able to benefit from a 'community bank' as plans take another step forward. 

Preston City Council has joined forces with Wirral and Liverpool Councils on the registration of the new mutual society - North West Mutual Ltd - was approved under seal by the FCA on 28 May 2020. 

The move will see a main branch and satellite branches opened at key locations across the city, in the first step to creating a customer owned bank dedicated to and based in the North West. 

The aim is to help the most vulnerable people and small businesses in Preston struggling to access the banking services they need that isn't available to them via the usual high street route. 

Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader at Preston City Council, said,

"A central part of the Preston Model is establishing a regional cooperative bank, owned by its customers. Working alongside great partners like Wirral Council and Liverpool City Council this is a big step forward now the 'North West Mutual' has been registered with the FCA.

The closure of many high street bank branches over the last few years has had a substantial effect on small businesses in Preston. 

Residents may have also struggled to open bank accounts due to complex personal circumstances, and this initiative will be there for those families too.

North West Mutual will be a community bank with the social mission of serving the everyday financial needs of ordinary people, community groups and small and medium sized companies across Preston." 

Background information

The North West Mutual will have a social mission focused on the following:  

  • the creation of a bank to serve the everyday financial needs of ordinary people, local community groups and small and medium sized companies 

  • help redress regional inequalities, make financial inclusion the norm, build and build community wealth 

  • significantly increase the proportion of bank lending going to the 'real' (non-financialised) economy andÔÇ»SME's instead of the financial economy 

  • build regional economic resilience and  

  • bring about a revitalisation of customer service, relationship banking and mutual trust.  

The operation of a mutually owned bank would be a means to reduce the problems of financial exclusion for households and extend the availability of loans and finance to the high number of small businesses in Preston which presently could struggle to access enough finance from mainstream banks.

The community bank compliments existing measures to build community wealth by the council and its partners including increasing the amount of procurement spend within Preston, promoting the real living wage, expanding worker ownership and developing the Harris Quarter Leisure Scheme in city ownership. 

Preston City Council actively applies and prioritises the principles of Community Wealth Building wherever applicable and appropriate. Community Wealth Building is an approach which aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone.