The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation invests £1 million in Charity Bank

By Mar 30, 2015

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This represents a fivefold increase on its initial investment

The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation invests a further £1 million in Charity Bank, increasing its shareholding from £200,000, in a show of support for the ethical bank’s mission to be a force for good.

The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation’s latest investment makes it the third largest shareholder in Charity Bank after Big Society Capital and the Charities Aid Foundation.

Last year (March 2014), Big Society Capital agreed to make its largest ever single investment – up to £14.5 million of ordinary shares in Charity Bank in three successive tranches between 2014 and 2016.

Since then, Charity Bank, which takes savings from individuals and organisations, and lends solely to social sector organisations, has approved 79 new loans in the year to March 2015, worth just over £37 million, compared with 57 loans, worth almost £12 million, in the year to March 2013.

“We are proud that the Mercers’ Charitable Foundation has been able to make a big increase in its original investment in Charity Bank. This new investment increases the bank’s ability to help many more good causes in the coming years. We look forward to finding other innovative ways to help charities and social enterprises in the future.”

The Master of the Mercers Company, Deborah Ounsted CBE

George Blunden, Chairman of Charity Bank, says: “We’re owned by the sector and run for the sector, as all of our shareholders are either charities or social sector organisations and share in our goal of building a better future in this country. As we move away from grants towards social investment, the Mercers’ Charitable Foundation’s backing is a further strong endorsement of Charity Bank’s plans to grow.

He added: “Capital is vital to our mission. Without capital to underpin the bank, we wouldn’t be able to leverage our savers’ money. Because of this leverage, every £1 of capital invested allows us to lend up to £12 to charities and other organisations that help improve and enrich the society we live in.”

Charity Bank is the bank of choice for social sector organisations that need a loan; it can lend at competitive rates from £50,000 to £2.5 million, or in the case of Housing Associations up to £3.5 million, and larger amounts in partnership with other social lenders.

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The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation was established, and is funded, by The Mercers’ Company. The Foundation supports a variety of charitable concerns, and its principal activity is making grants supporting projects in the fields of education, care for the elderly, social welfare, heritage and arts, and the Christian faith.

The Mercers’ Company is the Premier Livery Company of the City of London. Livery Companies originated in the medieval trade guilds, when men and women, working in the same crafts or trades began to join together in informal associations or fraternities. Originally functioning as social, religious and benevolent organisations, in time they came to regulate their trades within the walls of the City of London.

The Mercers’ Company originally traded in luxury fabrics such as silks, linens, velvets, and other fine textiles and dress accessories which were imported from abroad. Today, the Company concentrates on its philanthropic works. The Company, and its associated charitable trusts, make substantial grants to support programmes in education, general welfare, church and faith and arts and heritage. A network of almshouses and other homes for the elderly are also managed by the charitable trusts associated with the Company. It is closely involved with the running of 17 schools across the country and supports them primarily through the appointment of governors. The Company funds its activities from income derived from its investments, mainly property in London’s West End and the City.