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Dormant bank accounts boost social finance growth

Big Society Capital hits £600 million; Portugal, Japan, Israel adopt model.

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Bright spark. Big Society Capital funds projects like Plymouth Community Energy’s solar farm in the UK



Can dormant bank accounts be the springboard for expanding social finance as an industry? 

In January, the UK government announced it would be distributing £100 million to social investment firm, Big Society Capital. An extra £35 million is also being placed with Big Society Capital and Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, with the specific aim to increase the sustainability of the UK social investment market

The source of the UK government money is dormant bank and building society accounts. Some £300 million has already been deployed to Big Society Capital since 2008, when the UK government introduced the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act. 

Accounts dormant for more than 15 years in banks and building societies are placed into a fund called the Reclaim Fund to be verified and then split between the Big Lottery Fund, managed by the National Lottery for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Big Society Capital in England. 

Big Society Capital, set up as an independent institution, sources projects and co-invests the money across a range of social and environmental initiatives in England, targeting returns of 4% to 6% that go back into the pool.




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