Preston Council agrees to join Liverpool and Wirral on regional mutual bank

The North West Mutual Bank will help the authority develop its community wealth building initiative

Preston City Council has agreed to join local authorities in Liverpool and Wirral to set up a North West Mutual Bank.

The council will look for a banking licence for the venture after launching a second phase of its community wealth building initiative to build a democratic economy, by commissioning services from local SMEs – including worker co-ops set up for the purpose.

The council says the community bank plays a key role in this. Registered with the Financial Conduct Authority in May 2020, the banks can now start registering its trademarks and other intellectual property.

Cllr Freddie Bailey, Preston’s cabinet member for community wealth building, 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.”

Related: What has the Preston model achieved so far?

Cllr Martyn Rawlinson, cabinet member for resources and performance, 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.”