Wednesday 17 February 2010

Big Ask , Big Bankers and the Chancellor

Well, there you go. Massive profits at Barclays. And where is it going? Stuffed into the deep pockets of the bankers. Do the masters of the universe feel no shame?

So what better day to launch the Better Banking Coalition. A movement to transform banking to work for the many and not the few. Join it.

The Campaign kicked off this morning with a flurry of media coverage, my wonderful deputy on BBC news, Faisal from Fair Finance on the Today programme and numerous headlines in the nationals. Tomorrow we have meetings at No 10 and with the Opposition front bench. The Campaign is supported across the sector with a coalition made up of the key umbrella bodies like ACEVO, the Social Enterprise Coalition and the Community Alliance along with individual charities and other organisations. And not just confined to the third sector. We want support across society and industry. It is based at the ACEVO office.

And perhaps a launch on Ash Wednesday is entirely suitable: Lent is a time for repentance and reflection.

Now is the time to turn Banks towards greater lending to the community, to small business and social enterprise. We want to see the government introducing a Community Reinvestment Act which has worked do well in the States in getting banks to lend to Communities they often ignored.

Banks need to regain their sense of community. Isn't it interesting that we are continually exhorted to be more businesslike ( and indeed an eye on a healthy surplus is what a good CEO desires) but what we really need is for business to be more civil society like.

As banks have been exposed as inefficient and careering towards bankruptcy perhaps it is time for a them to learn from the third sector.

And on the subject of banking I am glad to say that the meeting with the Chancellor to discuss the letter from the 260 CEOs is now set for next thursday, February 25th. We have been working with members on the "Big Offer" which we will make at that meeting. How the Treasury can make cuts to departmental budgets but also improve services through a major expansion in our sector's role. I am working on the presentation- indeed the whole team are doing so now.

And we are also holding a series of meetings to prepare for the Tory Summit which now looks set to be March 18th.

These are good opportunities for our sector to present a united voice and so we are working with our colleagues across the sector to do just that.

The fourth leg of the Big Ask Gig, and this time its London's turn. A great turn out at the offices of CCLA in the City (how appropriate). A good discussion, ably chaired by the gorgeously appareled vice chair of ACEVO, Allison Ogden-Newton of Social Enterprise London. Key issues arising are again the problem of commissioning that meets the needs of customers and key providers, opportunities for us to deliver more and how we can better present the image of our sector more widely.

The fifth gig is tomorrow in Norwich. But for now I'm off to a reception for the new vice chancellor of Oxford at the Royal Society!

1 comment:

allen said...

Transforming the banking players and transforming the banking sector is two different though related matters.

It is the lack of competition that allows the current players to set their unethical practices and products despite regulation.

There is an unanswered issue whether basic banking needs of the individuals ought to be treated as a public benefit service.