Plymouth City Council has pledged support for the development of a new local bank.
The bank, known for now as South West Mutual, will be the first ever member-owned, high street bank dedicated to the residents and small businesses of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.
The bank will provide a full range of services to rival high street banks including local branches, digital channels and current accounts.
The council has joined the bank as a Founder Member and will invest in founder shares along with over 60 individuals, organisations and other local authorities in the area.
The investment of £60,000 from the Council’s Co-operative and Mutuals Development Fund will purchase shares that can be traded with other members once the bank becomes profitable.
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet member for Housing and Cooperative Development, said: “Plymouth is leading the way in growing the co-operative and social enterprise economy. We are also committed to supporting small businesses and want to see a fairer financial system.
“That is why we are honouring our commitment to support the establishment of South West Mutual, a new co-operative bank for the region, by becoming the largest investor.”
Tony Greenham, Executive Director of South West Mutual,said “More of the important decisions that affect our economy should be made not in the City of London, but closer to home.
“We believe that a mutual bank dedicated to the sustainable prosperity of the South West will make a vital contribution to levelling the economic playing field for the region’s people and businesses.
“Having the support of Plymouth City Council is a huge boost to this project and we are looking forward to working with stakeholders across the region’s largest city to make the new bank a reality.”
More information can be found at: www.southwestmutual.co.uk