A LARGER-THAN-LIFE Burnley businessman has become an overnight TV sensation with his bid to create a people’s bank for the town.
David Fishwick (41) of Sabden, starred in his very own Channel 4 show “Bank of Dave” where he takes on the goliaths of the British banking industry.
The self-made millionaire, who owns David Fishwick Minibus Sales, hit screens on Thursday as he attempted to set up his own “tiny bank” in Burnley.
The avid Clarets fan was filmed in various parts of Burnley looking at the impact of the credit crunch on local businesses during the first episode of the two-part series.
David called up Bank of England chief Sir Mervyn King for a chat but hits hurdle after hurdle as banking industry figures told him the “Bank of Dave” plan is doomed to fail.
Solicitors even warn him that using the word “bank” without a licence could land him in jail.
But despite not having a licence to lend or borrow money at the time, the “Bank on Dave” centre was opened in Keirby Walk with the help of celebrity pal Ted Robbins.
Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, David explained he took the drastic step after bank credit to local businesses dried up.
He said: “I had to do something drastic to keep going through the recession, so I began lending my own money to my customers.
“Unlike the banks, I knew they were good and honest people who could be trusted. I was proven right, and it made me see just how far wrong the banks had gone.
“As time went on, the crunch hit Burnley hard. Businesses were being replaced by TO LET signs every day. There just wasn’t any money to get things moving, so I thought that extending what I’d done to help my business customers might be a way to help people in my home town.”
He said that “Bank on Dave” has one simple goal – to give his customers 5% interest on savings and then use that money to lend to people struggling to secure loans from the big banks.
If the “bank” makes a profit David has vowed not to pay out huge bonuses like the big banks – but give all profits to charity.
He added: “I’m proud that I’ve started on a journey for better banking in Burnley, and hopefully it’ll end up with better banking for all of Britain.”
His dogged, never-say-die attitude has struck a huge chord with viewers of the show. Hundreds of messages of support for the “Bank on Dave” idea were posted on social networking site Twitter and David earned more than 6,000 new followers during the show.
The Burnley entrepreneur wrote: “Thanks again! With all your help and support we will be unstoppable and we will get real change in banking in Britain forever!”
The second part of the programme will air on Channel 4 this Thursday at 9 pm. The show will see David trying his hand at the work big banks do – including buying property around Burnley, purchasing gold in The States and playing the stock market.
He takes his idea on the road to get wider support for his “Better Banking in Britain” idea and meets former Labour spin-doctor Alastair Campbell and Business Secretary Vince Cable who back his plan.