Netflix’s Bank of Dave tells the true story of Burnley millionaire Dave Fishwick and his efforts to provide fair financial assistance to local people. Fishwick, who built his millions as a van and bus salesman, gained national fame after a 2012 documentary by Channel 4 chronicled his attempts to reform the banking system. 

Actor Rory Kinnear delivers a likable performance as Dave Fishwick. The millionaire attended the film’s exclusive premiere in Burnley on 15th January 2023. He celebrated the film’s popularity by tweeting: “WOW!! JUST WOW!!! Bank of Dave is Number ONE!”

The film mirrors reality, but some aspects are made up. 

Bank of Dave awaits approval to start operating as a real bank

Bank of Dave is not yet a real bank. It operates as Burnley Savings and Loans Limited (BSAL), awaiting approval to run as a bank. BSAL’s website reads:

“Currently BSAL is applying to become a UK regulated bank; “The Bank of Dave”; a bank for the community, run by the community, offering an expanded range of products to an expanded audience.”

The lack of certification prevents Dave from expanding the operation. Dave formed BSAL in 2011 in response to the financial crisis. High street banks weren’t lending money to small businesses and people, so he opened an institution willing to lend to ordinary citizens. 

Thanks to an innovative business model, BSAL became profitable in six months. Dave donates the profits to charity, further endearing him to the Burnley community. Dave told Channel 5’s Dan Walker and Claudia-Liza Vanderpuije that BSAL takes a personal approach to lending money.

He said: “What we do at Burnley Savings and Loans is we sometimes lend to people who’ve had some problems in the past. A computer 300 miles away can’t make a decision about whether to lend to a florist, a cafe – how can they? We’re looking at people. They’ve had a problem in the past so we’ll have a look.”

It’s unclear when or if Bank of Dave will become a reality. However, we are confident that Dave Fishwick will continue helping the community and vexing bank owners. “The big banks dislike me with a passion, but I quite like that,” he stated.