Self-made millionaire and former minibus driver Dave Fishwisk first rose to prominence in 2012, when a Channel 4 documentary detailed his efforts to revolutionise the banking system all by himself.


Now, Fishwick is having his incredible life story told to all in a Netflix film, which quickly hooked in viewers and soared to the top of the streamer’s most-watched movies in the UK in its week of release.

Bank of Dave follows the life story of the Burnley entrepreneur (played here by Rory Kinnear) who set up an independent lending company during the financial crisis to help those living in the Lancashire town.

But while the film is inspired by a true story, as you might expect, the Netflix movie does take one or two liberties with the truth.

Read on for everything you need to know about the true story behind The Bank of Dave and which parts of the film were embellished.

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While the broad outlines of the story are true – Dave Fishwick really did set up a new lending company in response to what he perceived to be a broken banking system, and his enormous success is very much real – there are also a number of exaggerations and inventions made for the film.

One of these concerns the role played by the rock band Def Leppard. In the film, the band flies in to perform a number of their songs at a fundraising concert, but this is actually a complete fabrication – based on the fact that Fishwick himself is a massive fan of the band.

Meanwhile, many of the nefarious schemes to undermine Dave's legitimacy that we see carried out by the banking elite are also invented for the film. For example, the storyline featuring Hugh Bonneville as a character called Sir Charles Denbigh, who is desperate to paint Dave as a criminal, is not actually based on real events – even though Dave says he did face opposition from the big banks while he was setting up his enterprise.

Bank of Dave
Florence Hall as Meghan and Rory Kinnear as Dave in Bank of Dave. Netflix

But perhaps the most significant area in which the film differs from reality is regarding Dave's application to become an officially regulated bank. In reality, Dave has still not been successful with his application and Burnley Savings and Loans Limited (BSAL) is therefore still not technically a bank, with customers only able to deposit a limited amount.

All that being said, it is absolutely true that BSAL has been a rip-roaring success since it was first set up by Dave back in 2011.

He was initially determined to revolutionise the banking system in the wake of the financial crisis, when he strongly felt that high street banks were not lending enough money to people and small businesses, and felt disillusioned by the huge bonuses given to employees.

BSAL works using a peer-to-peer crowdfunding model, in which borrowers can withdraw money and then take on the responsibility for repaying the loans, and since it was set up it has lent to thousands of customers – turning a profit within six months of opening.

What's more, Dave donates that profit to charities including local food banks, community centres, and schools – something which has helped make him a hugely popular figure in the local community.

Bank of Dave is streaming now on Netflix. Sign up for Netflix from £6.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

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