Tony Podcast South West Business Expo
7:01AM Dec 17, 2019
Hello I'm Tony green and Executive Director of South West Mutual. So we're setting up a new bank for the South West of England called South West Mutual. And the idea is that we will serve personal customers business customers through branches and online, and a bank that is owned by its own customers, purely to serve the South West of England.
What stage are you at the moment?
So we're looking to establish a new bank and that's a quite a long and complicated process, as it rightfully should be. So the process will take about two years, hopefully no longer than that. So we should be open opening our doors and ready to do business in 2025. So we're now entering the process of raising money and getting our regulatory approvals. So what makes you different to other banks. So we're looking to be different from other banks and add something which isn't already available, something a bit different in three ways really will be a customer owned bank so a cooperative a mutual will be dedicated to the southwest call Devon Somerset and Dorset and focused exclusively on the needs of our region from the branch to the boardroom, all we care about is prosperity the Southwest will have a focus in particular on smaller businesses we think often they're not getting the attention they deserve from the banking system, but micro businesses and sole traders are really important bedrock of our economy, particularly Southwest will be particularly interested in trying to serve their needs. And then the third difference is that we're driven by purpose. So we'll absolutely want to be a profitable bank, but that's not why we get out of bed in the morning what we get up in the morning for us to deliver on our purpose which is sustainable prosperity for the region.
Being in the South West of England, what do you think of the benefits of being here?
We think we live in an amazing region, which is full of lots of entrepreneurial people. It's full it's a wonderful place to live it has an amazing natural environment as a great quality of life. And I think that that draws people down here. I think that that gives people a lot of pride and passionate about the region, and we like to try and express those values in an event.
So what do you think the biggest challenges are at the moment, businesses down here?
So I think during the course of 2019. The issue of climate change has really come into people's focus, and with the David Attenborough documentary and Gretha Thonberg work in the climate school strikes. So we're very interested in how we can be part of meeting that challenge of changing the economy so that it's greener and cleaner. So we'd like to be part of the financing of this transition to a zero carbon economy. I think it's really important. It's a huge challenge for the business community, and we think we're up to the challenge in the South West, but it's also of course an opportunity. So, lots of businesses down here are already trying to be more sustainable in their practices trying to get rid of plastic, trying to take opportunities in clean energy and other new sustainable and green industries, so we'd love to see the South West being a leader in the UK for managing this transition to a much cleaner, greener company.
Would you say that's one of the biggest opportunities down here in the South West?
We think it is - I mean, obviously it's an opportunity for some businesses that are actually in, you know, industries which are particularly green already but I think the interesting opportunity is for businesses which don't necessarily see themselves as part of the green economy, but maybe there's a growth opportunity for them to start to change their products to start to change the way that they do business to take advantage of the rising appetite. I think amongst consumers to know that the products and services that they're buying having been produced in a really sustainable way that's kind on the environment and also kind on people so there's a lot of interest in practices where people are getting a fair wage and people are being treated well. So I think if you're a business that wants to position yourself in that way as an ethical business, I think the future can be really bright,
Is that sort of approach more prevalent at the moment and are you seeing that with small businesses and start ups?
I think it is fair to say that we sit in pockets. There are some people who have built their business I think and their brand around, you know, being authentically socially just and environmentally sustainable. I've run a small business myself, and I've also served small businesses through an accountancy practice and I know how tough it is, you know, when you're running a small business, you're the chief executive the finance director, the marketing director the sales director - you're everything. I would also say it's really hard to keep across all the stuff you have to do. So, it's tough for us to say to people, and on top of that you've now got to figure out how to make your business a low carbon sustainable business. So I think as a bank, one of our visions would be to help foster a community where businesses can maybe learn from each other, and have events where we can try and help him to navigate through this challenge and turn it into an opportunity.
Thank you Tony
Thank you very much.