sup­port for ‘a model of a tra­di­tional sav­ings in­sti­tu­tion’

The Scotsman - - News - Bill Jamieson

IT MAY not have been meant as a slap in the face to Scot­land’s post-crash bank­ing es­tab­lish­ment. But that is how many will see it.

Some of the coun­try’s lead­ing en­trepreneurs, who would strug­gle to have made it in to­day’s drought con­di­tions for lend­ing to small firms, are back­ing the ex­pan­sion of a tiny Scot­tish bank with £10 mil­lion of their own money.

It may be a drop in the bucket in re­la­tion to the Scot­tish bank­ing mar­ket. But its sig­nifi- cance in the sig­nal it sends. For it echoes a keenly felt de­sire across Scot­land’s busi­ness com­mu­nity to see the growth and ex­pan­sion of a gen­uinely Scot­tish bank that has sur­vived on a cul­ture and ethos that once made Scot­tish bank­ing re­spected the world over.

But Stage­coach boss Brian Souter left lit­tle doubt that it is a re­buke: “We are do­ing this be­cause so many Scots are dis­mayed at what has hap­pened within the bank­ing sec­tor.”

“It is a sup­port­ive ges­ture”, said Sir An­gus Grossart yes­ter­day. “It’s a model of a tra­di­tional sav­ings in­sti­tu­tion for which there is scope in the mar­ket place.”

But for Sir David Mur­ray it is also an af­fir­ma­tion of the im- por­tance of fam­ily busi­nesses. “Fam­i­lies are of real im­por­tance to the Scot­tish econ­omy – the Salvesens, the Souters, the Thom­sons. They have played a crit­i­cal role in the pro­mo­tion of Scot­tish busi­ness and con­tinue to do so. We don’t get grants or govern­ment sup­port. We have to weather the storms and get on.”

Hees­ti­mates that Scot­tish fam­ily busi­nesses em­ploy be­tween 25,000 and 30,000. Oth­ers will see it as vin­di­ca­tion that banks don’t need to be be­he­moths to draw busi­ness sup­port.

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