Dave Fishwick: The Minibus Tycoon Who Challenged the UK Banks

Dave Fishwick was a successful minibus businessman in Burnley, England, when he decided to take on the UK banking establishment. He was frustrated by the lack of lending to small businesses and individuals after the 2007 global financial crisis, and he wanted to make a difference in his community. He set up his own bank, called Bank of Dave, and lent his own money to people who needed it, while donating the profits to charity. His story is told in a documentary series, currently streaming on Neon.

Dave Fishwick had no experience in banking, but he had a vision of creating a community bank that would help people and businesses in Burnley and beyond. He applied for a banking licence, but he faced many obstacles and regulations from the authorities, who told him that he could not call himself a bank or use the word deposit. He was also warned that he could go to prison if he broke the rules.

He did not give up, and he opened his bank in September 2011, under the official name of Burnley Savings and Loans, but with a catchy slogan of “Bank on Dave!”. He operated from a small office, with a few staff and volunteers, and he offered loans at 8.9% interest and savings at 5% interest. He also promised to donate any profits to local charities, such as hospices and schools.

He attracted hundreds of customers, who queued up outside his bank to deposit or borrow money. He also received support from celebrities, such as Def Leppard, who performed at a fundraising concert for his bank. He lent over £1 million of his own money in the first year, and he helped many people and businesses who were rejected by the mainstream banks.

Bank of Dave: A Global Inspiration for Banking Reform

Dave Fishwick’s bank was not only a success in Burnley, but also a global inspiration for banking reform. He received praise and recognition from various organisations and media outlets, such as the Centre for Social Justice, the New Economics Foundation, and The Guardian. He also won several awards, such as the Responsible Business Award and the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

He also travelled around the world, to learn from and share his experience with other community banks and alternative financial institutions, such as credit unions, microfinance, and peer-to-peer lending. He visited countries such as Bangladesh, South Africa, and the US, and he met with Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, and former US president Bill Clinton.

He also campaigned for changes in the UK banking system, such as more transparency, competition, and regulation. He advocated for a “banking charter”, which would set out the rights and responsibilities of banks and customers, and for a “banking passport”, which would allow new entrants to access the banking infrastructure more easily. He also called for more support and education for financial literacy and inclusion.

Bank of Dave: A Dream of Becoming a Regulated Bank

Dave Fishwick’s bank is still operating today, under the same name and slogan, and with the same mission and values. He has lent over £30 million to date, and he has donated over £500,000 to charity. He has also expanded his services, such as offering mortgages, business accounts, and online banking. He has also opened a second branch in Manchester, and he plans to open more branches across the UK.

However, his bank is still not a fully regulated bank, and he is still working on obtaining a banking licence. He has faced many challenges and delays, such as changing regulations, complex procedures, and high costs. He has also faced competition and criticism from the big banks, who have accused him of being irresponsible and unrealistic.

He remains optimistic and determined, and he hopes to achieve his dream of becoming a UK regulated bank soon. He believes that his bank is not only a business, but also a social movement, and he wants to make a positive impact on the society and the environment. He says: “I’m not a banker, I’m a human being. And I want to help other human beings.”

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