Bank of Dave Review: ‘Everyman’ vs ‘The Man’

BANK OF DAVE: Thursday 12th July, Channel 4, 9pm

Dave Fishwick reckons that “banks are shit” and it’s hard to argue at the minute. The recent Barclays/LIBOR scandal, Natwest’s utter incompetence and the fact that top bankers are still getting massive bonuses while the rest of us are tightening our belts, has meant that the public’s ire has not faded much in the years since they dragged us into a recession. As such Dave’s on safe ground with his bank-bashing.

At first glance, the owner of Burnley’s biggest minibus dealership reminds us of the Duracell bunny; constantly cheerful with thousands of ideas pinging around his head at one hundred miles an hour. He also seems to be the kind of person that would tweet his thoughts and feelings every 0.5 seconds. But as it turns out, he’s a serious man and his plan to set up his own independent bank for the ‘everyman’ is heart-felt and well-intentioned. It’s also quite entertaining to watch him try and defy the “really intelligent people that all say the same thingâ€?: he’s got “no chance.â€?

Yet we soon find out that Dave Fishwick doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer from anybody.

Even so, he’s set himself a mammoth task and not just because of a mountain of paperwork that will have seen environmentalists choking on their tofu. A large proportion of the programme is spent with Dave being rejected and beaten down by numerous bankers and so-called experts, causing him to insist with just the right amount of cheesiness that he’s “been fighting bulliesâ€? since he was “thirteen years oldâ€?. It was only when I recognised the Rocky theme tune in the background that I realised that he wouldn’t be going away as easily as some of his detractors had hoped.

The best thing about this documentary was Dave’s perseverance. He said himself that “the main thing about being an entrepreneur is turning ‘No’s into ‘Yes’s” and he certainly didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer at any point here. Indeed you felt like the rejection just made him want it more. Without any approval to create a bank, he got his self-branded “chicken shedâ€? of an office ready for a grand opening anyway. He scoffed at the idea of a credit union and remained a positive hero… even if at one stage he sat on the edge of a window and shouted, “It’s all going wrong! Unless they give me a banking license, I’m going to jump!â€? You certainly couldn’t accuse him of lacking a sense of humour.

Even though he pouted that he “didn’t belong in their cliqueâ€? after talking to a banker who told him he hadn’t taken any of the necessary exams, it was clear that he’s no idiot. He may have congratulated himself with bananas and got told to “go awayâ€? when approaching a friend wearing the head of a bear costume, but he did find a way around not being able to call his venture a bank and he will have won many fans in the process.