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June 15, 2016

Community payback

It’s taking a while to catch on – perhaps everyone’s  a little more cautious around banks since the crash – but the principle of self-help and mutuality as being espoused by the Scottish Community Reinvestment Trust and its ‘partner’ bank the Airdrie Savings Bank, Scotland’s last remaining mutual bank, is beginning to generate some genuine innovations. The latest of these was launched last month by ASB – a social mortgage with a new twist which pays money back to the community. 

Niall Alexander, Airdrie Savings Bank

Airdrie Savings Bank (ASB) Scotland’s only independent, mutual bank has produced a twist onthe cashback mortgage idea as employees, trustees and volunteers of thousands of Scotland’s third sector organisations and social enterprises can see their organisation benefit by £250.

Many banks offer cashback to borrowers as part of their mortgage enticement; at ASB, they’ve decided to do it differently; the cashback from their “Social: Mortgage” product will go to the third sector organisation that the borrower works for, volunteers with, or sits on the governing body of.

ASB has an ethical ethos that is rooted in community and cooperative spirit. It is a mutual, with no paid trustees, no shareholders to satisfy and a fair wage culture. ASB doesn’t promote bonus driven lending and invests depositors’ money in an ethical manner. It is Scotland’s last independent savings bank offering loans, deposits and mortgages.

This is the only social mortgage of its kind in the UK, giving money back to third sector organisations which will help them deliver vital social services across Scotland. The £250 cashback to the borrower’s third sector organisation is unrestricted and can be used for any purpose.

The bank already offers fixed and notice deposit accounts and social investment loans to third sector organisations through its collaborative work with the Scottish Community Re:Investment Trust (SCRT). The Social Mortgage has also been developed with SCRT, and it is third sector organisations that are connected to SCRT that will potentially benefit from this cashback windfall.

ASB’s Social Enterprise Manager, Niall Alexander says:

“We wanted to do something to support the third sector, and their work. This offer is open to people across Scotland; if you’re in the market for a mortgage and your organisation can show it is connected to SCRT then you can qualify – no catches – you’ll get a great mortgage product and your organisation will benefit too”.

Pauline Hinchion, of SCRT says:

“We’re delighted to support this social mortgage offer. We work with ASB as its ethics and ways of operating are closely aligned with those of the Scottish Third Sector. Increasingly the third sector recognises that it needs to support and bank with financial institutions that have shared values in order to magnify social impact and reduce inequality across Scotland”.

We already work with ASB on delivering great deposit rates for third sector organisations through the Third Sector specific Anchor Savings Accounts example of how we have worked together to create banking products that the third sector will value”.

Further details of the Social: Mortgage can be found here