A new bank backed by a council pension fund is supporting the local economy by lending to small businesses cast aside by big banks. Austin Macauley reports What do you do when your job is to foster local economic growth and yet your efforts are frustrated because banks refuse to lend to businesses? Answer: set up your own bank. Cambridge and Counties Bank, launched in June, is now doing its bit to soak up some of the estimated £3bn of business lending that was rejected by banks in the second half of last year. More importantly, its efforts are primarily focused on firms in its sub-region of Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, who saw around £103m of overdraft and loan applications turned down during that period. The strapline on its website reads ‘growing business together’. Most financial institutions will churn out all manner of marketing guff extolling their uniqueness, but in … (To read the full article, subscribe below)

Austin Macauley is a freelance writer and editor specialising in regeneration and social issues