Unity Trust Bank and CDFA behind crowdfunding plan for local social enterprises

The bank, led by chief executive Richard Wilcox, announced the plan in its annual report, published yesterday

Richard Wilcox
Richard Wilcox

Unity Trust Bank and the Community Development Finance Association are developing a crowdfunding scheme that will encourage people to invest in their local communities.

The initiative, which is at the developmental stage, will allow people within a community to invest money to cover the funds for loans already provided by community development financial institutions to local social enterprises.

This will free-up funds for CDFIs to lend money to other local social enterprises. CDFIs are social enterprises that lend funds to people and businesses that struggle to get access to finance from high-street lenders.

No indication has been given as to how much money could be made available through the crowdfunding scheme.

Unity Trust Bank, a specialist bank for charities and social enterprises, made the announcement in its annual report and accounts, published yesterday. It said in the report: "Through a website, individuals will be able to backfill loans provided by CDFIs to small businesses and projects.

"This in turn, will enable CDFIs to do more lending, create more jobs and make more social impact in communities that are most in need."

The initiative is expected to be launched towards the end of May.

Unity Trust Bank’s accounts show that net profits increased to £2.3m in 2013, compared with £400,000 in 2012.

The bank achieved 8 per cent growth in total assets to £717.5m over the period. Its total customer loan portfolio increased by 6 per cent to £184.7m. The bank also reported a 64 per cent increase in new customer lending to £44m.

Richard Wilcox, chief executive of Unity Trust Bank, said: "The UK economic environment has continued to suffer during the ongoing recessionary climate and lending continues to be challenging. Despite this, the bank has achieved positive growth across all business areas in 2013."

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