Meet Charity Bank - Patrick Minne
Patrick Minne, Charity Bank’s Northern Ireland Manager, has been leading the Bank on the delivery of its strategy for Northern Ireland for 18 months. In this interview he tells us about Charity Bank’s work in Northern Ireland and its plans for the future.
Firstly, when did Charity Bank begin its work in Northern Ireland?
Charity Bank made its first loans to social sector organisations from Northern Ireland in 2008. Our first savings customers from Northern Ireland opened accounts in 2002.
How does it operate?
Charity Bank is a regulated bank with a social purpose. It gives support and lends money solely to charities and other social sector organisations using savings from individuals and institutions to achieve social impact.
Although Charity Bank ceased to be a regulated charity in 2013, the charitable objects set up at its foundation in 2002 remain in place.
With the support of organisations like The Atlantic Philanthropies and Building Change Trust, Charity Bank also delivers training programmes for social sector managers intended to help their organisations become sustainable and less grant dependent.
How can it benefit organisations here?
For social sector organisations that need loan finance, Charity Bank has a competitive offering and brings an understanding of the sector to its work.
For organisations that want to keep their reserves safe while at the same time helping to finance their social sector peers, our savings accounts can help them achieve that.
In addition, our capacity-building programmes like the heavily subsidized ‘Advanced Diploma in Social Investment for the Third Sector’ at Jordanstown are worth considering for social sector managers looking to skill up to deal with the changing funding environment.
What is the background to Charity Bank?
It was launched in 2002 to lend money to charities and other social sector organisations that were being underserved by other lenders in order that these organisations could address the social needs within communities across the UK or provide other social benefits.
The idea was to create a community of borrowers, savers, shareholders, staff and board members who share a common vision to use the tools of finance to benefit society. By 2006 it had lent £100m. In Northern Ireland, Community Foundation NI made a capital investment in 2007, followed by Building Change Trust in 2010.
Why is this work needed in Northern Ireland?
As the eligibility criteria for grant programmes becomes more stringent in Northern Ireland, we are committed to helping social sector organisations to exploit non-grant sources of finance.
We achieve this through our training programmes and by investing time and expertise in organisations to help them secure finance under appropriate terms and conditions that enable them to achieve greater social impacts.
How will the £1million investment from Building Change Trust be spent?
The investment from Building Change Trust is used to raise deposits in Northern Ireland and to provide loans to social sector organisations. As part of the investment, we also provide investment readiness support programme for organisations and individuals working in the sector.
Any plans for the future?
We believe that both collaboration and competition between social funders will be healthy for social sector funding in Northern Ireland. We will continue to offer competitive loans and we will also continue to work with other organisations to create the best funding solutions.
The demand for our savings products shows that there is huge potential to grow the ethical savings market here, as long as we can equip social sector organisations to tap into new, non-grant sources of finance.
Patrick is always available to discuss individual projects and their suitability for loan finance and can be contacted on 028 90244179.