Minibus magnate seeks to raise £2.5m to launch ‘Bank of Dave’

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Minibus magnate Dave Fishwick is looking to raise £2.5 million as he presses ahead with an attempt to gain regulatory approval to launch the so-called Bank of Dave.

The businessman, who made his fortune selling minibuses, said he is in the application process with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to turn his loans provider into a fully-fledged UK bank.

Since launching in 2011, Burnley Savings and Loans – which is currently known as Bank on Dave – has lent nearly £20 million to more than 3,000 borrowers.

It is now turning to crowdfunding platform Seedrs in a bid to raise £2.5 million towards its expansion to become a full bank, which will be called Bank of Dave.

Dave Fishwick started his lending business in 2011 (Bank on Dave/PA)

It is hoped that, if the application is successful, Bank of Dave will launch in 2019 and notch up annual pre-tax profits of £4.5 million within five years.

Mr Fishwick founded his loans company in the wake of the financial crash and in reaction to the impact it had on the North of England.

He wanted to help inject financial support into the local community and businesses and “prove that financial service providers can be socially responsible”.

The business wants to provide affordable loans to individuals and small and medium-sized businesses which may not have access to mainstream finance, with the aim of improving their credit rating in the future.

Mr Fishwick said: “The core vision for Bank of Dave is to create an ethical, successful and sustainable bank which is distinctive from established UK banks which we believe are falling short on supporting under-served individuals and small business.

“We believe in the need for a fresh approach to banking and to provide products and services that meet real customer needs.”

He added: “We have had a brilliant few years acting as a savings and loans provider, but the opportunity to become a fully authorised UK bank will expand our horizons even further, enabling us to help more people across the UK.”

If successful, Bank of Dave will initially operate from a head office and high street branch in Mr Fishwick’s hometown of Burnley.

The group has no fixed plans for the scale of its branch network, instead aiming to build up its digital presence as a priority to make banking accessible online, via mobile and in branch.

Mr Fishwick has so far financially supported the business himself, having personally invested nearly £2 million, with external debts to fund lending activities.

He has not taken out any salary or dividends for himself from the business to date.

In the early years, profits will be re-invested in the bank, but over time earnings will be available for disbursement to shareholders or good causes as well as to continue growing the business, according to the group.

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