Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


airing for social bank idea

September 2006

British banks have given a non-committal response to a proposal that an independent Social Investment Bank be created to receive unclaimed assets in dormant bank accounts and spend them on social causes.

The suggestion comes from the Commission on Unclaimed Assets, set up last year by the UK-based Scarman Trust with backing from eight large charities, including the Carnegie Trust. In an interim report, the commission says a Social Investment Bank could use the hundreds of millions of pounds in dormant accounts to fund social enterprises, lend in low-income communities and promote enterprise in poor parts of the UK.

However, the British Bankers’ Association, which has already agreed in principle that the money should be channelled into community projects, said only that the idea was ‘a valuable contribution to the debate’ and that it looks forward to seeing more details in the commission’s final report before the UK government’s next budget.

The commission, chaired by the venture capitalist Sir Ronald Cohen, is now consulting on its interim report.

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