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Double celebration as Unity Trust Bank turns 30 and reports growth in the social impact of its lending

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Double celebration as Unity Trust Bank turns 30 and reports growth in the social impact of its lending

Published: May 1, 2014

Unity Trust Bank, the specialist bank for the social economy, has launched its second Social Lending Impact report. The report released today, on its 30th birthday, reveals Unity has more than doubled its lending to social economy organisations and improved impacts for local communities across the UK during 2013.

The socially responsible bank’s lending to the social economy has increased substantially with lending totalling £39 million in 2013, compared to £19 million in 2012. Unity has pledged to invest £100 million in the sector over three years, from 2013 to 2015, and is seeking to grow its lending activity throughout all regions of the UK.

Last year saw Unity invest in a diverse range of projects from financing the development of new and existing care homes to purchasing a hostel for homeless young people. This supported the creation of 612 bed spaces and helped to create and protect 2,143 jobs in the UK. Of the total investment, 56% of the loan finance went to charities.

Richard Wilcox, Chief Executive Officer of Unity Trust Bank said: “As Unity Trust Bank turns 30 we are pleased to report that we have grown our impact both in terms of the amount of finance provided and the difference we have helped our customers to make in their local communities.

“These impacts are made possible through the deposits made by our trade union and wider social economy customers. They enable us to focus on lending that supports job creation and retention; the provision of housing and support services; and community development. This reflects the founding principles of the Bank, and the purposes for which it was established: to work for the common good. This continues to be at the heart of our organisation today, thirty years after our foundation.”

Sandwell Community Caring Trust is one customer benefiting from Unity’s investment. Unity Trust Bank provided a £3.5 million loan alongside a £725k investment from Big Issue Invest to purchase a 62 bed specialist dementia care home in West Bromwich.

Geoff Walker, CEO of Sandwell Caring Community Trust (SCCT), said: “It’s important because most social enterprises like us aren’t capital rich but can develop revenues to pay back loans. We need this rare type of flexibility.”

Unity Trust Bank also takes a holistic approach to encourage social impact internally. In 2013, the Bank’s Unity in the Community initiative saw 50 members of staff volunteer for a total of 113.5 days. Furthermore, Unity became the first bank in the UK to become accredited for paying the Real Living Wage and is also pioneer of the Fair Tax Mark, which shows it is transparent and responsible in matters of taxation. Unity has also recently achieved Investors in People Silver status, which recognises the training and development the Bank offers its staff.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: “It’s high time we start to celebrate the people that could give banking a good name. Unity Trust Bank has an outstanding track record of social banking. It finances domestic enterprises, co-operatives and voluntary sector projects that have significant social benefits, all without a single millionaire or bank bonus in sight.”

Peter Kelly, Director of Business Development and Marketing of Unity Trust Bank said: “We continue to see an increased interest in the Bank as a result of a growing awareness of our social values and our commitment to invest in organisations at the forefront of delivering social change. We are proud to be supporting such inspirational organisations and we will endeavour to have greater social impacts in 2014 and beyond’.

Unity Trust Bank’s customers highlighted in the Impact Report are at the forefront of delivering social change, community development and providing opportunities to transform lives. For information and advice on sustainable finance and banking services, please contact Unity Trust Bank on email: or visit its website at: