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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Cash deal for third sector bank

This news post is over 9 years old

​Ancient City of London company's charity arm invests in Charity Bask

An ethical third sector lender has been given a huge shot in the arm with a new £1 million lending deal.

The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation has put in the sum, increasing its shareholding from £200,000, in a show of support for the Charity Bank’s mission to be a force for good.

This makes it the third largest shareholder in the bank after Big Society Capital and the Charities Aid Foundation.

Last year, Big Society Capital agreed to make its largest ever single investment – up to £14.5 million of ordinary shares in Charity Bank in three successive tranches between 2014 and 2016.

Since then, the organisation, which takes savings from individuals and organisations, and lends solely to social sector organisations, has approved 79 new loans worth just over £37 million. This is compared to 57 loans worth almost £12 million in the year to March 2013.

We’re owned by the sector and run for the sector, our shareholders are charities or social sector organisations and share in our goal of building a better future

Mercers is a City of London livery company which can trace its heritage to the medieval trade guild system. Among its other activities, it now runs a series of charitable trusts and projects for the poor.

Master of the Mercers Company, Deborah Ounsted CBE, said: “We are proud that the Mercers’ Charitable Foundation has been able to make a big increase in its original investment in Charity Bank. This new investment increases the bank’s ability to help many more good causes in the coming years. We look forward to finding other innovative ways to help charities and social enterprises in the future.”

George Blunden, chairman of Charity Bank, said: “We’re owned by the sector and run for the sector, as all of our shareholders are either charities or social sector organisations and share in our goal of building a better future in this country. As we move away from grants towards social investment, the Mercers’ Charitable Foundation’s backing is a further strong endorsement of Charity Bank’s plans to grow.

“Capital is vital to our mission. Without capital to underpin the bank, we wouldn’t be able to leverage our savers’ money. Because of this leverage, every £1 of capital invested allows us to lend up to £12 to charities and other organisations that help improve and enrich the society we live in.”

Charity Bank can lend at competitive rates from £50,000 to £2.5 million, or in the case of housing associations, up to £3.5 million, and larger amounts in partnership with other social lenders.