"Each month lots of money in salaries swills into Lambeth and most of it disappears again without much benefit to local banks."

“Each month lots of money in salaries swills into Lambeth and most of it disappears again without much benefit to local banks.”

London-based Bank of Lambeth is getting ready to enter the UK’s highly competitive challenger bank arena.

The community bank is the brainchild of Duncan Law at Transition Town Brixton. The latter is an initiative that looks to new ways of dealing with climate change, and energy and financial issues.

In a report in the Brixton Bugle, Law discussed how the community of Brixton (an area in South London) reacted to a traditional bank’s failure to provide funding for a local shop move.

Law says: “Each month lots of money in salaries swills into Lambeth and most of it disappears again without much benefit to local banks. It’s held by banks ‘too big to fail’, who invest in fossil fuels but still won’t lend to local businesses.”

His words are a very familiar refrain to us in fintech. However, this lack of help has led to action.

Transition Town Brixton’s New Economy Group is working to make the Bank of Lambeth happen – and wants to set up a “community of ‘community investors’”.

No launch date is set yet as it is still meeting and formulating its ideas. On its Facebook page, the bank is looking to inspiration from Community Savings Bank Association (CSBA), another new challenger in the UK.

As Banking Technology reported last year, CSBA entered the banking market. The association, which is registered as a co-operative society, aims to set up a UK-wide network of independent, customer-owned, regional banks. On the technology side, CSBA is working with TCS Financial Services – using its Bancs core system delivered in the cloud.

The Bank of Lambeth wants to be part of CSBA and it would like “the first branch to be in Brixton”. It is discussing these plans with the association.

According to the CSBA, the bank is a “group of activists” who do not plan to form a company to seek a banking licence. (If it’s part of CSBA, it doesn’t need a licence.)

On 28 June, the Bank of Lambeth will be talking about its local banking and investment plans at a Brixton fund event.

With so many new entrants trying to muscle into the UK banking sector, Banking Technology has put together a comprehensive list of the known challengers to date and the technology they are using. 

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