Downtown in Business and boutique finance company Currency Matters brought together city mayor Joe Anderson and thirty business leaders this week to launch a debate about the establishment of a Bank of Liverpool.
Welcoming the initiative mayor Anderson said: ‘We need to encourage innovation and investment to create growth across the city region. Recently, we have announced a £171 million spend from the Single Investment Fund initiative through the Combined Authority which will leverage in a further £500 million from private sector partners, creating over 13,000 jobs.
‘A Bank of Liverpool would potentially unlock further investment and support for the local SME market. That would be great news for the city and for the wider region. With devolution now established, it is an idea that is well worth exploring further.’
Currency Matters boss Jon Anderson added: ‘We think the time has now come for the Bank of Liverpool to be established. The appetite for regional challenger banks has support from across the political spectrum. Liverpool is built on innovation and entrepreneurialism. The Liverpool brand is internationally strong. The time for this project to take off is now.’
Downtown chief executive Frank McKenna agreed that the idea needed to be supported by the city’s private sector.
‘Access to finance is still the major barrier to growth for some of the finest businesses within our region. Regional knowledge of those businesses and local knowledge of the city and its markets is something that a Bank of Liverpool would bring; alongside a less risk averse approach to financing entrepreneurs.
‘Downtown in Business suggested this idea in our submission to the first round of devolution in 2015. Perhaps we were a tad premature then. However, with the Single Investment Fund now firmly established, a Combined Authority in place and the expertise of Currency Matters to drive the project forward, we are determined to see this idea fully explored in the coming months.’
The next stage of that conversation takes place next Friday, with an exclusive Downtown lunch with the chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership Asif Ahmed and the head of economic development for the city region, Wirral council leader Phil Davies.
Mr McKenna concluded: ‘Following the lunch, Downtown and Currency Matters will be calling a special summit to take forward proposals that will enable us to create a vibrant and dynamic financial model that our enterprising, ambitious companies deserve.’