New body to transform charity finance in Scotland

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​New financial organisation aims to increase third sector's financial clout and make borrowing easier

10th December 2014 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A new financial body for Scottish charities says it plans to radically change the way organisations invest in line with their values.

Scottish Community Re:Investment Trust launches this week aiming to transform how Scotland’s third sector uses and thinks about its finances.

The trust’s first initiative is a specially designed savings account which was introduced at the Social Enterprise Trade Fair in Glasgow.

Provided by Airdrie Savings Bank, Britain’s last independent savings bank, the new Anchor savings account will connect hundreds of separate accounts beneath one umbrella and aims to increase the sector’s financial impact.  

Deirdre Forsyth, chair of Scottish Community Re:Investment Trust, said Scotland’s third sector desperately needs access to a financial infrastructure that matches its values and ways of working.

“For charities and socially beneficial organisations, the current financial system is broken beyond repair – leaving them hampered by scattered resources, unsuitable products and unmet needs,” she said.  

The third sector can use its substantial financial resources to invest in its own future

“By acting together and harnessing its collective assets – and by strengthening its understanding and knowledge of socially responsible use and management of money – the third sector can use its substantial financial resources to invest in its own future in alternative and better ways than is currently possible.”

The trust cites evidence of widespread third sector dissatisfaction with current financial services.

This includes recent research for Charity Bank, which revealed that although 65% of respondents believed that loans can benefit charities’ work, only 31% of those approaching a high-street bank for a loan took one, 29% were declined and 40% could not take up offered loans because of onerous terms.

Malcolm Hayday, advisor to the trust, said: “By building a common, collective and shared wealth there is huge scope for organisations to invest in and support the development of the wider third sector – recycling its investment resources and creating significant benefits for its crucial work for society, our environment and people’s well-being.

“In the sector, we focus on the positive impact of everything we do except when it comes to our financial reserves.”

The trust has been established with a founding board and team with extensive experience of social banking institutions and the third sector including Senscot, CEIS, Penumbra and Ekopia.