New Cambridge Bank Keeping It Local

17:40 Tuesday 11th September 2012
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

CHRIS MANN: A new bank helping growing businesses in Cambridgeshire was officially launched today. Cambridge and Counties Bank has actually already been in existence for several months. It targets SMEs, or small medium enterprises. It is jointly owned by Trinity Hall and the County Council Pension Fund. Kerry Devine has more from today’s launch party. (TAPE)
KERRY DEVINE: The launch took place at the Cambridge Belfry in Cambourne this afternoon. According to the Chief Executive Officer, Gary Wilkinson, things have been going well.
GARY WILKINSON: In accordance with our plans, we’re on target to achieve the objectives that we set out, and that we planned for. We’re here to help fill the lending gap, or should I be more precise , the lack of lending gap that is currently in the UK economy. So as has widely been reported, currently SMEs, many robust SMEs, are being denied the credit that they should be entitled to, because the existing banks are not lending. And we are here as a new player on the market to help fill that gap. We’re aiming for SMEs, that’s small and medium enterprises, small businesses that currently need funding to develop their businesses, to help kickstart the economy. We’re here to help them to do that. We’ve already helped a wide range of busineses. They vary from pubs to restaurants to student accommodation to corner shops, a whole range of customers we’ve been helping and will continue to help.
KERRY DEVINE: Nick Clark, the Leader of the County Council, says pensioners living in Cambridgeshire will reap the benefits.
NICK CLARK: We expect the returns to be very good, but the big story is it’s local pensioners, their local money, being recirculated to local businesses, getting a great return for the pension fund. And this is a win-win situation. By law we have to make the right investments, the best investments for our pensioners. It’s a solid, it’s a safe investment, will get a great return. But by happenchance also we can use it to stimulate small and medium sized enterprises. And this is great for the economy. There are so many fabulous businesses out there that just need a bit more liquidity. Now we’re not a bank making a high risk lending. This is not banking as you used to know it. This is about real traditional banking. So we have people deposit money, and we lend it, a sensible straightforward way, each lending application is reviewed, analysed on its own merits by human beings, and not a computer.
KERRY DEVINE: Paul ffolkes Davis the Chairman of the Bank and the Bursar at Trinity Hall says banks can do good business.
PAUL FFOLKES DAVIS: If you have a bank that doesn’t have any bad debts, doesn’t have a back book, and is open for business, that is the Cambridge and Counties bank. We thought that we could do two things. Make a very good investment over time for the endowment. Who knows? Maybe one day we can grow it to be almost as rich as our grand neighbours. But also make a difference locally and do some good business. We’re not in a hurry. Nor is the Council. This is something that we would like to grow over time. All our forecasts suggest that this can become a profitable and growing entity over the very long term. Nothing lasts for ever. Who knows? One day it may get so big that the College does need to sell some shares in it, and realise some of the investment. We want to see this grow and make the College and the Council richer over time, and help as many people as we can in the process. (LIVE)
CHRIS MANN: That was Paul ffolkes Davis there, the Chairman of the Cambridge and Counties Bank, and the Bursar of Trinity Hall completing that report from Kerry Devine.