Fifty years of friendship and finance – meet David Dickman

In our series of conversations with friends from our fifty years so far, today we meet David Dickman. David was a trustee for ICOF from 2001 to 2007. David was, and remains, an investor in ICOF, too.

‘I was a regional general manager for The Co-operative Bank and I looked after a lot of the key sectors, including co-ops for them. To be invited onto the ICOF Board was very interesting for me in that I moved from an organisation with a very well known, well established and respected brand, in terms of size and market place, to an organisation that was very sustainable, with an enthusiastic board and a very few employees. What struck me immediately was that they were able to help individual businesses within the social enterprise and the co-op sectors, but they never really had the muscle, the clout, to make a major impact.

But it was a sustainable business, making real change at a community level, and I really liked being part of that. It also had a very loyal investor base – it’s amazing that that’s where they got their capital from in the first place. I still have investment, and I’ve told my sons that when I pop my clogs, I want them to leave it in there.

I think my main contribution might have been to get them to change the name! ICOF – or Industrial Common Ownership Finance – which did not resonate with me or, I thought, the general population. I proposed Co-operative and Community Finance, which I thought summed it up.

I remember working with Ian Taylor and Andrew Hibbert, really dedicated lending officers who really understood community business. Neither of them were trained bankers but they were both bloody good at their job. The Trustee/Director weekend event was always good, too, always well structured and enjoyable. As Trustees, we were well looked after.

I’m delighted to say ‘Happy birthday’ to ICOF. 50 years is a considerable milestone. I can’t help feeling that all the people involved with and concerned with CCF can feel proud of the number of businesses that they have helped over the years and it goes without saying that I look forward to it surviving for another 50 years of doing good in a social environment.