In November 2015, almost 1500 people raised, in 35 days, £62,095 to help Brixton cycles during their transition to a new location (forced out due to gentrification). Their bank failed to provide them the help required. But the community around Brixton showed their support through a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Economy is the basis of a society. When the economy is steady, society develops. At the heart of a good economy are good banks, that fulfil their role in the economy for the benefit of society. This simple idea was the origin of modern banks set up around Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. Their mission: to develop solutions for people with low income to save small sums of money and to support new business.
But since the 2008 crisis, the public perception of banks is at an all time low. People don’t trust them. For the majority of the people, banks are failing the economy. Most people would agree that banks are currently more interested in creating value for their shareholders than providing their essential role in the economy for the benefit of everyone.
A group of people in Transition Town Brixton has decided to take action. Instead of just complain and moan about banks, we are looking at new solutions that could invigorate our local economy for the benefit of everyone.
And there is hope. Local banking. Examples from USA and Germany show that local banking could be part of the answer. In the USA, community banks (as local banks are known), while holding only 14% of all the banking sector assets, provide the majority of loans for SMEs (37%), and farmers (65%). In Germany, public local banks (Sparkasse) are well trusted and their mission is to sustainably develop the local real economy in thier area.
And that’s what we are thinking for Lambeth. An institution or institutions that work for the benefit of everyone, to support a thriving economy that supplies the needs of the communities of Lambeth. The needs of local savers; the services that local business require to carry on their operations; the support that local charities and community organisations require to continue their work in the area, and in general to assist on the making of the Lambeth of the future. We the people can do it. We already saved one of our most loved business a year ago. And so we can continue to help others and change things for the better.
So, if you are curious, or already bought into it, come to one of our meetings to find out more and maybe even help. We are at the start of a really encouraging journey, but also a really challenging one, so every support and help will be greatly appreciated.
Join the movement,
Bank of Lambeth
A bank of the people, by the people, for the people
We are ‘launching’ the project at the relaunch of the TTB REconomy and Business Group. See more here
Meanwhile here are our draft Vision and Mission:
A more ‘involving’, local, fair economy that supplies real needs sustainably and increases employment, wellbeing and resilience.
Entities* that enable local investment (not just of money) in a ‘real’ local economy and transition enterprises that shape the future.
To facilitate the transition to a new local economy by setting up entities* that:
- Enable local investment (not just of money)
- Provide local financial and other services
- ‘Connect’ the local economy
- Involve local peole in owning and controlling their local economy.
- Enable transition enterprises.
*These might be the Bank of Lambeth (to harness the money that comes into Lambeth regularly in salaries and enable local lending and financial services) and/or a local p2p lending platform and/or Lambeth Angels (local impact and possibly angel investors)…or others that the group decides.