If the reading matter mentioned in our last post – Seeds of Change, the latest report into alternative funding for small business from the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation – didn’t quite measure up to your idea of a good holiday read, here’s a slightly lighter, but no less relevant option…
One of the books I’ll be packing in my suitcase is Bank of Dave: How I Took on the Banks: The Story of One Man’s Heroic Attempt to Take on the Banks. As its name suggests, it is the companion book to the recent Channel 4 documentary, Bank of Dave, in which we saw self-made Burnley millionaire, Dave Fishwick, do his best to take on the big boys and set up his very own bank.
The programmes certainly captured the public’s imagination. Twitter was full of #BankofDave, highlighting huge swathes of support for this charismatic character prepared to take on the banks at their own game.
In the end, it’s perhaps that – I mean the public reaction – more than Dave himself that will stick in my mind.
Clearly, Dave has a heart of gold. He loves Burnley and loves giving something back to the community he grew up in. For the people it helps, locally, the Bank of Dave is a lifeline whose role cannot be underestimated.
When it comes to a national level, however, it’s less clear how these things can scale. Dave can lend to Tariq – the caterer with a poor credit history – because
- He had funds available to underwrite all of the loans made by Bank of Dave
- He could look at Tariq in the white’s of the eyes and make a decision about his ability to repay
- He had local insight into a local situation and that made it easier for him to “bend the rules”
When it comes to national solutions to the crisis of business finance, controls will inevitably need to be tighter. After all, no-one wants more lending to people who can’t pay back their loans – that’s what got us into this mess – but if we learn one thing from Bank of Dave, it should be that the public are reading.. and waiting… for change.
The amount of enthusiasm for transparent, no-nonsense banking was immense. The respect for someone willing to look beyond “the computer says no” credit scores was huge and the desperation for people – and brands – to come along and shake up business funding in the UK was palpable.
It’s time for change. Dave has started a journey that it’s up to all of us to continue. Peer to business lending is one way for everyone to get involved in helping their local community. All it takes is enough borrowers and lenders and soon everyone will have the chance to put something back, while making a decent return.
So, this summer, be inspired by Dave, enjoy learning more about his life and business background in his book… but don’t forget the real message Dave had for us all.
Action is needed. And action – and progress – begins at home. It only takes a little step from everyone to change the world, start adding your voice to change today and sign up with FundingKnight for peer to business lending. It’s a new way to lend and borrow money.
Photo – chosen in homage to Dave and his pimped up minibus tour