Piaid Cymru is urging the creation of a Welsh Government- owned Bank of Wales that would make it easier for small and medium sized businesses (SME')s to access the capital they need to grow.
The party’s economy spokesman Alun Ffred Jones said its economic commission would investigate proposals for a Bank of Wales, along similar lines to German Sparkasse and Landesbanken which operate on a strictly regional basis to support local industries.
“Finance Wales [Wales Government’s business bank subsidiary] was originally intended to fulfil this function, but because of EU regulations was unable to do so.“I believe such a bank could be set up with around £20m, which would be well within the Welsh Government’s capability. This is a practical idea aimed at addressing market failure.”Plaid sources believe that momentum may be growing for the creation of such a bank, and that its creation could form part of future Budget negotiations between the Welsh Government and opposition parties.
Changes to the Credit Union Act were passed though parliament January 8, 2012 with the main change points being the removal of restrictions of membership to reach out to new groups by serving more than one group of people, provide services to community groups, businesses and social enterprises with specific Business loans and to offer interest on savings, instead of a dividend in line with mainstream banking
The proposed Bank of Wales could also be an umbrella organisation that credit Unions could see as a back up and help them feel more secure.
This is an opportunity to change the way we support business in Wales and whilst Plaid's proposal is a start perhaps they could be more adventurous.