Who we are
Our first priority at the Hampshire Community Bank will be to help small firms in Hampshire. Local deposits will be used to fund sustainable and productive local lending.
The Hampshire Community Bank is headquartered in Winchester and all loan decisions are made by people in Hampshire, with most profits returned to the people of Hampshire rather than paid out in large bonuses. Its Charity-based ownership structure means it cannot be taken over.
The Hampshire Community Bank is being created to fill the current shortfall in the availability of credit, on reasonable terms, to Hampshire’s Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The shortfall means local SMEs have limited access to the finance they need to survive and grow.
The Community Bank’s lending services will support the growth and future development of SMEs throughout Hampshire.
This project has secured the support of several public institutions in Hampshire. They have joined us as seed investors to provide us with a strong foundation and help secure long term benefits for the businesses of Hampshire. Our investors are:
– Eastleigh Borough Council
– Portsmouth City Council
– Test Valley Borough Council
– Winchester City Council
– University of Southampton
– University of Portsmouth
– Southampton Solent University
– University of Winchester
– Local First CIC
– HCB Foundation
We are already lending to SMEs in Hampshire through our Green Growth Loans Programme (GGL), which was initially backed by Eastleigh Borough Council and the Government.
The GGL programme lends to a diverse portfolio of businesses with a positive benefit to Hampshire’s economy.
To date, over £1.7m has been lent to SMEs in Hampshire across a wide range of industries, helping to create 104 new jobs and safeguard 152 existing jobs.
On 15 September 2020, Portsmouth City Council approved a new £10 million lending facility for the Hampshire Community Bank to enable SMEs to access loans.
Sir Vince Cable, former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2017 to 2019, was Chairman of the Hampshire Community Bank from 2016-2017.
Sir Vince has been a long-standing supporter of German-style community banking, which dominates the German banking sector (70% of deposit-takers and over 80% of all banks are not-for-profit community banks, either of the savings bank or co-operative bank variety). The resilience of the German economy over the past 200 years, despite bleak periods of history, has been linked to the “Mittelstand” of thriving small and medium-sized firms, which account for over 70% of employment. Since their foundation 200 years ago, community banks in Germany have come to dominate banking. Their support for the Mittelstand, coupled with the support of big banks for the big firms, established a banking structure which has been at the core of the long term strength of the German economy. Because of the many local community banks in Germany, German SMEs have grown to become industrial and exporting power-houses, and Germany boasts by far the largest number of “Hidden Champions” – SMEs that are global market leaders in a particular niche.
By contrast, the UK has lost the thousands of community banks that first helped drive the Industrial Revolution in the mid 19th Century. With them has gone the UK’s ability to grow profitable competitors to the likes of those in Germany, China and the US, all countries where community banking is prevalent.
In a speech delivered at one of the European Conferences on Banking and the Economy, at the Winchester Guildhall, Sir Vince also praised the success of the German apprenticeship system. Under this, community banks encourage training programmes in local firms, while also training a surplus of their own staff, providing local SMEs with a supply of new employees experienced in finance and local business.