LOCAL Government workers in Cambridgeshire woke to the news today they are the proud joint owners of a bank.

LOCAL Government workers in Cambridgeshire woke to the news today they are the proud joint owners of a bank.

Cambridge & Counties Bank describes itself as a “a unique new partnership between two established and respected institutions - Trinity Hall, Cambridgeshire County Council Pension Fund’”

In a statement on the bank’s website they say they will be “banking specialists for small to medium enterprises within the UK and are dedicated to helping businesses of this type grow, consistently providing quality banking services and support.

“In today’s climate, we recognise that their success is crucial to the success of our economy as a whole. It is our aim to provide them with responsible business lending, expert knowledge and a safe home for their money.

“Cambridge & Counties Bank works in mutual partnership with SMEs to build strong relationships and fully understand their business needs.

“We offer a range of competitive products that suit SME needs and give them answers swiftly enough to make a real difference to their business.

“We’re dedicated and committed to helping businesses grow, which makes Cambridge & Counties Bank the ideal business partner.”

The statement says that the new bank takes affect from June 8 2012 “and Pensions Bank Limited has transferred its customer deposit and lending books to Cambridge & Counties Bank Limited.

“Pensions Bank Ltd no longer accepts customer deposits or provides lending.

For further information on Cambridge & Counties Bank Ltd including an updated i–bank link please visit www.ccbank.co.uk

“If you have any queries relating to Pensions Bank Ltd please contact: 0116 204 3153

Pensions Bank Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) under registration number 116315 and can be checked at http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register/home.do”

It is not know whether, as discussed earlier by the pensions committee, the council’s pension fund would own 40 per cent of the bank, as would Trinity Hall, with a private investor, entrepreneur Ravi Takhar taking 15 per cent and the other five per cent being spread around.

Rate of return on the capital employed after four years is expected to become 17 per cent of the nominal sale of the bank and 20 per cent by the fifth year of trading.

“The investment in the bank is considered a unique and valuable investment opportunity to the pension fund with yields expected to be good and the risks relatively low, due to the directed and shared ownership and with the bank currently holding loans against personal pension plans,” said a report to the council’s pension committee earlier this year.

Alliance and Leicester has managed the bank which was once owned by Law Debenture Trust Corporation. LDTC is a company that held shares as nominee for Vladimir Antonov, the former boss of Portsmouth FC who has been arrested on £150 million fraud charges.

Money Marketing magazine notes that Pensions Bank made pre-tax losses of £695,000 in 2010 and £387,000 in 2009.

Its 2010 accounts show it held just over £64m in customer accounts at the end of the year. The accounts include a provision for a £250,000 loss on a £1m deposit made with defunct Icelandic bank Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander.

The magazine quotes Pensions Bank chief executive Gary Wilkinson saying that “the buyers are progressing well with the formal change in control approval process required by the FSA, and are aiming for approval in early 2012.”