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Conister Bank is thrilled to be supporting the island's newest production company who are bringing children's stories to life through music, movement and laughter.
After what can only be described as a difficult year for many, Chloe and Michelle have added a little pizazz to our island!
Hello Little People was born when Chloë and Michelle found themselves back home on the Isle of Man as Covid-19 began to take hold. Having known each other for years back in their youth on the Island, they had parted ways to train professionally in the Arts. Now reunited on the ‘rock’ they couldn’t resist meeting up for a coffee when restrictions began to ease.
They are rooted in Manx culture, heritage and landscape and are constantly inspired by this mighty Celtic nation.
The new Conister Bank Working Capital Loan is designed to provide a lifeline to businesses and may be the difference between surviving or not. These loans can help alleviate cash flow issues and assist with wages, running costs, bills, ongoing projects and rental costs.
Whilst Conister Bank isn’t on the front-line in the fight against Covid-19, that hasn’t stopped us from providing our own support to those that have needed it.
Throughout lockdown, we have tailored our products and services to support local customers and businesses, who, through no fault of their own have faced financial challenges.
As we enter the second half of 2020 in such uncertain times with many unknowns, Conister Bank’s message is that we are here to work with both existing, new customers and business owners who may be experiencing shifts in their business.
Conister Bank has been working closely with the Isle of Man Government to assist local businesses that have been unable to access funding via their banks or do not qualify for assistance via the Disruption Loan Guarantee Agreement.
The new Working Capital Loan is designed to provide a lifeline to businesses and maybe the difference between surviving or not. These loans can help alleviate cash flow issues and assist with wages, running costs, bills, ongoing projects and rental costs.
With Isle of Man Government backing, the Working Capital Loan is structured to ease the pressure of making sizeable capital repayments in the first year, giving your business a chance to regain momentum as the Island returns to some resemblance of normality.
Conister Bank’s parent company Manx Financial Group PLC announces a 11.5% growth in profit year on year.
Profits at the locally based financial services group, which includes Conister Bank Limited, Edgewater Associates Limited and Manx FX Limited, have continued to increase since their latest published results.
Manx Financial Group PLC’s full-year results were published this week and highlighted yet another successful year for the Group.
Jim Mellon, Executive Chairman, commented: “I am pleased to announce that the outcome for 2019 showed a significant increase in profitability in comparison to 2018, finishing the year with an 11.54% uplift. We continued to strengthen our balance sheet, with a significant increase in liquidity, which has prepared us well for dealing with the issues surrounding COVID-19.”
Conister Bank continues to perform with profits of £2.6 million before tax which is an increase of 18% compared to last year. Total assets have grown by 28.7% to £245.7 million.
Douglas Grant, Managing Director of Conister Bank, commented on the Bank’s performance, “2019 was another year of progress for Conister Bank, continuing our positive momentum across our major markets. Advances during the year more than doubled the level achieved just two years ago, with lending £51.7 million ahead of last year at £153.8 million.
We are proud to be the island’s only independent community bank and we will continue to stand fast and support local businesses, their employees and their families.”
Conister Bank now offers our customers the ability to make a loan payment through the Conister Bank Payment Portal referred to as QuickPay. This means you don’t have to call or email an advisor to make a payment against your account but can do so through QuickPay through our website.
We all hope, desperately, that the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic has passed. But if and when that proves conclusively to be the case the future remains daunting. As the crisis developed, talk extended from a focus purely on the health situation to the impact on the economy. In terms of being a disruptor, it looks set to outstrip the impact of the 2008 global crash.
At times, as the death toll racked up across the world, it may have felt crass to be worrying about such things. Of course, the health of the population will always be the priority, but for those of us whose skills lie elsewhere, it is right that our attention has turned to the future.
As I write, the baby steps to relaxing the rules of lockdown in the Isle of Man are taking place. So far, it has appeared to go well. More businesses are now looking at how they will continue into the future.
While these developments can feel like the first rays of sunshine as dawn breaks following the nightmare of what came before, the landscape is very different from the one before the coronavirus sunset.
We are waking up to a new world. Normal is a different word. It is scary in many ways. But there will be good to come from this. It is important that those businesses that are in a position to do so, maintain a steadfast position, and offer support and assistance to others in more difficult circumstances.
Some businesses were able to adapt and continue during the height of the crisis. Others are now in a position where they can rebuild. I have been amazed and pleasantly surprised at just how well many companies have adapted to deal with the situation. Many have had their reputation enhanced by the way in which they supported their community. Others are facing stark realities and difficult choices, often through no failing of their own.
It will take years for the full long-term impact on economies to become known, but we are already very aware of some short-term implications.
How many furloughed workers will have a job to go back to? Some businesses – such as those in tourism and leisure – need longer term support than other sectors that have already managed to get back up and running. In some ways, it will be more straight forward to assess the level of control of the pandemic in terms of public health than it will be to judge how we control the economic impact.
Certain ways of life have already changed immeasurably and are very unlikely to go back to the way they were just a few months ago.
We are finding new ways to live and work and new attitudes to how we balance the two. Hygiene and personal safety will now be a much more important factor for all businesses and trades, both for their workers and their customers.
Office life may well have changed forever. The realisation that many tasks can be done from home offers an opportunity for businesses to remodel the way they work.
We have seen how, with some thought, many businesses are in a position to adapt to accommodate the needs of some staff to structure their work around other commitments. But it is not so simple as merely deciding an arbitrary number of your staff will work from home from now on.
There are other considerations to bear in mind, however, including safeguarding. If a worker’s job involves dealing with the public, even if merely over the telephone or via email, are the systems in place to ensure that no customer will have access to that worker’s personal or family details. The value of face-to-face interaction between colleagues should not be underestimated, either.
One realisation that started to come out during the crisis was that feelings of loneliness and isolation were not just restricted to children or the elderly. There are many people out there who in normal circumstances live on their own. Their social interaction comes from the workplace, sport and leisure pastimes and a night out at the weekend. All that was taken away from them. A number of businesses recognised this and structured their remote working in such a way that ensured interaction between colleagues. At Conister, this is something we worked hard on overcoming.
By necessity, all of this had to be virtual, but what it demonstrated was that, while home working can have advantages, it is important to ensure workers do not feel isolated. Something employers must remember as we move into the new normal.
It may be that in future long-term planning of office rotas will become the standard, especially if it takes a while for schools to be in a position to resume full-time attendance for all pupils. It will be possible for a business to have some people working from home for certain days or weeks, but also have some time in the office factored in, for the benefit of all. The crisis has also shown the value of e-commerce and logistics, sectors that have shown their strength and flexibility. They will be stronger for it.
Retail, especially on a local level, has shown itself to be a crucial part of society and the economy. Customers will hopefully not forget this, nor the value of local produce and the importance of geographical proximity for many trades.
On a wider scale, not surprisingly the pharmaceutical industry is well-positioned for growth. The motor industry will be interesting to follow. Will cars be used less for environmental/health reasons or more, as a method of ensuring social distancing whilst travelling to and from work? Generally, will the pressure for greater environmental awareness increase as that issue not gone away?
Banks have also shown themselves to have behaved responsibly so far. The public should have a reasonable expectation for this to continue and hopefully for them to be able support businesses in the coming years.
At Conister, we have been working hard to provide new lending products to reflect the current environment, and to assist help depositors while the low interest environment continues. We and other banks will continue to find the best ways to support our customers, which in turn will support the economy. What we have also seen, of course, is the realisation of how little we actually need notes and coins. Contactless pay has, by necessity, become the norm for many more people.
Elsewhere, some industries may take years to recover or may need to change forever.Tourism, for instance, has taken a huge hit. The first steps to recovery are likely to be focussed on a concept of holidaying closer to home, within in the British Isles in our case.At the time of writing, the idea of air bridges is gaining traction in a bid to aid international travel, but it may take some time for some people to feel confident, particularly for holiday purposes.
The stay at home vacation is likely to be around for a while – hopefully travel firms will be able to adapt and, in turn, leisure facilities across the British Isles will at least be able to make up some of the shortfall from the loss of international visitors through an uptake in ‘local’ tourists. The problem will be, many companies will have invested in this summer season utilising the funds they received from bookings. But with the cancellation of so many holidays, even in the UK, there will be an unprecedented level of refunds which will have to come from their cashflow. Which having been invested in the expectation of them performing the service will not be there. So government support will be required or we will lose even more household travel companies. Desperate times in the short term.
Some industries may never be the same. The future of live music is uncertain, especially until a viable vaccine is widely available. But there appears to have been an increase in creativity and work rate by those unable to get on the stage. So the recording industry, which in recent years has been seen as less of a money spinner than live music, may see a renaissance. Recording studios are unprepared for the pent up in demand that is about to hit them!
Sport is another sector that has truly suffered from the pandemic. In some respects there are many more important things to worry about, but we must not forget just how many people are employed, for instance, in connection with football, hockey and rugby for example. We may not fear for wealthy footballers who have had to tighten their belts a little – and it is only fair to acknowledge many have done so willingly – but there are many sportsmen, professional and amateur, who will have been impacted. And that is not to mention the pleasure that watching sport can give to many – I say that as a supporter of Queen of the South!
Tough times await us ahead and it will do well for us to remember what we have already been through.
But if we can sustain the sense of community, work for and support each other – both in our home lives and in the business world – those first rays of sunshine after the darkness will get stronger.
Brighter days will come.
Conister Bank Limited, the Island’s leading independent bank, is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Isle of Man based non-executive Directors, Sam Skelton and John Spellman. These appointments have been made to add additional NED experience to the Bank’s board as it continues to innovate its deposit and loan offering on Island.
Sam Skelton is joining the Board of Conister Bank Limited with immediate effect bringing with him a wealth of banking and financial experience gained during his 32-year career working for the RBS Group both in the U.K. and in the Isle of Man.
Sam is an economics graduate, and within the wider RBS Group, Sam held a number of key roles throughout his career including director for Coutts International Ltd and director and chairman for Lombard Isle of Man Ltd.
In joining the Board Sam said “It’s a great privilege to have this opportunity to join a local bank which has such a long history and fine pedigree with a true go-ahead attitude underpinned by such great staff and customers.
It’s accepted these are very challenging times for us all but I genuinely feel Conister Bank has and will continue to make a difference in supporting businesses and individuals to get through these difficulties and I hope in some small way to compliment Douglas Grant and his fellow executive directors in leading the Bank through to a more normal business environment.”
John Spellman is joining the Boards of Conister Bank Limited and its parent company, Manx Financial Group PLC, with immediate effect.
During John’s career, he gained experience in banking, fund management and accountancy, specialising in various parts of the offshore industry. John has also worked with, and created, a number of successful locally based businesses and acted as a strategic advisor to the Government, specialising in the finance sector and foreign direct investment.
In joining the Boards John said “I am delighted to join the Boards of Conister Bank and Manx Financial Group. I hope to use my experience to help support the business to further success in the future.”
Douglas Grant, Managing Director of Conister Bank Limited, commented: “on behalf of everyone at Conister Bank and Manx Financial Group, I am delighted to welcome Sam and John to our Boards. Both are highly regarded in their respective fields and I look forward to their valuable insights as we continue to expand our operations both on Island and further afield."
When I think of banking, a personal, tailored service isn’t something that immediately jumps to mind. Maybe my expectations have been beaten down over the years, or maybe I’ve just naively thought a high street bank is my only option. However, it’s times like this when you actually need to speak with someone without waiting on hold for 3 hours, that it’s nice to realise that maybe you’ve just been choosing the wrong banks all along.
Conister Bank strive to provide a service echoing how banking was back in the good old days. Your bank manager knew you by name and you were a loyal customer for life. Conister has been providing savings and lending to local businesses and individuals on the Isle of Man since 1935. Yup, that’s 85 years of banking. Plans to celebrate their 85th year have naturally fallen to the back burner. Despite the challenges and adaptations they, like all of us are currently facing, their customers are still at the forefront of what they do. This has meant thinking outside of the box to ensure they still provide the high standards that they have set, and which their customers thus have come to expect.
So just what is happening now in the world of banking, now we have found ourselves in this topsy turvy version of reality otherwise known as 2020?
Well for Conister, they’re making sure their approach is as personal as it’s always been. With modern technology and the use of the internet most customers apply online to Conister. When dealing with a customer recently who wasn’t particularly fluent in the art of technology, a member of staff went above and beyond their call of duty, by printing out and personally posting a document through the customers letterbox, then waiting for them to sign and post it back through (insert disclaimer about how social distancing measures were obviously followed).
It would be easy to assume that in the midst of a global pandemic, taking out a loan is the last thing anyone would want - and Conister initially thought the same. Cycle 360, Bikestyle, Eurocycles and Erin Bike Hut have experienced a surge in new customers during lockdown, via their online portal Conister have been able to provide finance to many new customers. Not only is it clear we are REALLY into cycling on the Isle of Man, but to see so many customers shopping local at this time is definitely a small win; having these finance packages in place means these small, often family run businesses, are still trading.
But, by partnering with the Isle of Man Government to support their Disruption Loan Guarantee Scheme, Conister are helping to provide a cash flow to maintain the day to day running of local businesses - helping to ensure they can cover essentials such as rental costs, wages, a continuation of projects and bills.
One of 5 banks involved with the scheme, Conister will assist not only their own customers but will welcome onboard new customers. Each enquiry is sent straight through to the Head of Sales, Andy Bass, who ensures they are dealt with on a case by case basis - with Conister, it isn’t just an ‘apply online and get an instant decision’ sort of situation, it’s personal. The Isle of Man Government website advises you to ‘contact your bank’ for more information, and in this situation, you want and need help and guidance as soon as you can get it. Utilising their local knowledge, Conister can ensure they are keeping the businesses’ best interests at heart and ultimately looking out for the Island that they, and we, so dearly love.
Right now, there are a lot of tough conversations being had; some businesses are unsure how they will survive after COVID-19 and it’s understandably frightening for a lot of people. Being able to provide help on such a human level is vital in a time like this.
As fraudsters spot new opportunities to access your money, information and software during the coronavirus pandemic, here’s how we can help you stay safe.
Unfortunately, fraudsters are using people’s sense of uncertainty and fear during the coronavirus pandemic to take advantage of vulnerable people and businesses.
Find out how you can take to keep your details, money and software safe from fraud.
Remember – we’ll never ask for your account information or passwords through unsolicited calls, texts, emails or social media.
If you get an email or text that claims to be from us but looks suspicious, please forward it, along with any attachments if possible, to OpsRisk@conisterbank.co.im