The Bank of Martin Lewis?

Not so easy to open a bank

Not so easy to open a bank

I just received this email, and bizarrely, it’s only one of many on a similar vein, so I thought it was time to jot down a reply.

Dear Martin

Can we not start our own bank? I would BUT I am just me and you would be able to get everyone on board quickly. There were millions of people claiming BUT millions more are disgusted by the bank charges ruling and if they were all to deposit come cash in return for shares – dream!

Obviously we would not be able to prove credit at first BUT we could eventually. A Martin Lewis Bank! We could stick the finger up to these banks. They might be able to steal our money through charges as we are held by the short and curlies BUT if millions of people moved bank then we could really hurt them and benefit the people in the process.

Thoughts? If we do, can I have a job? (it is kind of my idea, it would be polite)


Iain Taylor

Thanks for the idea and the faith you have in me Iain, but I’m afraid it’s not something I’m going to be taking up (and not just because of the unbelievable workload and massive logistical difficulties it’d take).

  • Regulatory issues. Setting up a bank isn’t easy, and needs enormous amounts of capital. A better form would be setting up a credit union. Yet that needs to be for a specific group i.e. residents of Glasgow or Teachers and while it’s arguable that the MSE forums could well count – I think it’s tricky.
  • Can’t guarantee best products. My aim in anything I do with this site is to try and show people the very best method saving money. Yet it would be virtually impossible to compete with the best buy loss leaders offered by banks on some savings products, children’s savings or credit cards. They draw customers in with great headline rates then shaft them afterwards.

    As no MSE bank would ever do that, it means it wouldn’t be top of the best buy tables, and then we’d be in the bizarre position of having our own bank but suggesting many people not to use it (as we’re about riding these best buys).

  • Don’t be a product provider. And finally, I simply don’t think it’s a good idea to cross over telling people how to save money and providing products (something I noted in my Should which have its own product range? blog). It’s difficult to try and hold banks to account when you run one yourself.

So to conclude, there won’t be an MSE bank, but we will keep on trying to show people what the top products are and how to use them so you don’t get caught (and campaigns to fight back if people have been unfairly shafted).

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