Westside bank celebrating after being crowned business of the year

A socially conscious bank based on Westside has been named Business of the Year in the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Awards.

Unity Trust Bank, headquartered in Brindleyplace, won the top honour along with the Contribution to Community award.

The bank was originally founded by trade unions in 1984 to serve the common good. Judges praised Unity Trust Bank’s mission to “create a better society, delivering impact not simply maximising profits”.

Deborah Hazel, chief executive at Unity Trust Bank said that the awards were “immensely gratifying”.

She said: “These awards are a highlight of the local business calendar. We are privileged to have our headquarters in Brindleyplace. We are proud to be part of the Birmingham business community.”

The bank’s net lending increased by £63 million to £786 million in the first half of 2022, including an additional 99 borrowers accessing loans through responsible finance providers.

The lending supported 149 jobs, enabled 384 people in safe housing, created or renovated 488 bed spaces, provided 504 day care spaces and 89 community facilities. The bank also unveiled new charity partnerships for 2022/23 with the Prince’s Trust and Fareshare.

Last year, the bank recruited seven commercial banking officers for the region and three relationship managers covering north and south Birmingham, the Black Country and Sutton Coldfield, taking the size of its frontline Midlands team to 20 people.

Deposit clients include the likes of charities, parish councils, care organisations and trade unions and the bank also supports community development financial institution funds.

Katrina Cooke, the Chamber’s chief commercial officer and chairwoman of the awards judging panel, said: “A huge congratulations to Unity Trust Bank on winning the Greater Birmingham Business of the Year award.

“The judges were extremely impressed by the standard of entries for this year’s awards which reflect the breadth, diversity and talent of businesses across the region.”

The awards, which took place last Thursday night at the International Convention Centre on Centenary Square, were hosted by radio broadcaster Ed James and welcomed 1,200 guests.

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