Blueprint under way for Big Society Bank

Government in talks with social lenders

The Office of Civil Society has begun to hold meetings with social lenders to draw up a blueprint for the Big Society Bank.

A spokesman for the department said it would stage further meetings with stakeholders to improve its plans. "We've started to hold meetings with some organisations already, and have scheduled meetings with others," he said.

Bevis Watts, head of business banking at Triodos Bank, said there were many questions to be answered about the bank's structure, such as whether the money invested in the Big Society Bank would belong to the bank itself, or remain the government's money.

"We would like the bank to be independent," he said. "It should have the right to invest where it sees fit to strengthen the market. We'd like it to act as a cornerstone investor in new funds and products to leverage in private capital."

John Brooks, sales and marketing director at Unity Trust Bank, said the bank should not attempt to distort the market by lending cash too quickly. He said that it might be helpful if the bank were to have only £60m when it launches in April.

"There's a danger the bank will be deluged with bad ideas just because the cash is available," he said.

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