A new kind of financial organisation is promising to challenge the way that banks do their daily business
Civilisedmoney is an online form of money management that sidesteps the high street banks and aims to put customers firmly back in control.
By making use of digital technology, the company is providing a way for people to deal directly with each other and keep ownership of their own money. The founders of the new venture, Neil Crofts and Jason Scott, who are veterans of internet marketing and finance, believe that the present system of finance based on debt is structurally broken and no longer functions.
“There is an imminent revolution going on in financial services,” says Neil. “Given the current dissatisfaction with financial services, and people’s growing computer skills, 2012 is the perfect year for this revolution to happen. There is the opportunity for a full service, full reserve, fully digital banking system which can meet all our banking requirements without lining the pockets of bankers.”
Neil believes that money, and choices about how to use and invest it, should remain in the hands of the people that use civilisedmoney. The idea is to facilitate people in making transactions directly with other people, at fair and transparent rates.
Customers will be able to offer cash for investment, set their own terms of interest and effectively cut out the conventional banking system, which currently profits from every financial transaction. The company aims to establish a safe, mediated marketplace where there are no hidden charges, no gambling or oversized bonuses and no unethical investment in products that people do not wish to support or be associated with.
At present, civilisedmoney offers a crowdfunding service to fund start-ups and business expansion, where entrepreneurs are connected with likeminded people who can collectively back an idea, a person, or a business. Supporters can be offered rewards from project leaders in exchange for backing their idea.
As the business grows however, the aim is to take on all the roles that banks usually perform. Although similar financial services already exist, civilisedmoney claims to be unique in enabling an individual to put money into a single account and then make use of digital tools to take control and manage it independently.
“Increasing numbers of people will be signing up because they recognise this is a genuine alternative to conventional banks,” says Neil. “The project portfolio will be built up so that people can exchange currency, buy property, take out insurances and loans but do all these services themselves, cutting out the middleman and saving money. Hopefully this will eventually mean the mainstream banks might head in the same direction as well.”
The time for change seems to be right; to get the business afloat, civilisedmoney itself crowdfunded £100,000 in just nine days, making it the world’s first financial services company established in this way.