A Burnley businessman, whose real-life battle to set up a community bank has been turned into a Netflix film, has been praised by the Prime Minister.

Dave Fishwick, the face behind Netflix’s Bank of Dave, has received a letter from Rishi Sunak praising a long-term project he is working on regarding community banking.

Dave said he has been to America as part of the project. He is working on it with MP Jo Gideon and his team at Burnley Savings and Loans, including “right-hand man” David Henshaw.

More details about the projects are set to be revealed at a later date.

Dave says the letter contains words of praise, with the Prime Minister writing: “It is evident that Mr Fishwick has a strong desire to empower communities and help those in their time of need. He should be very proud of [his] achievements.”

Dave said: “It was excellent to receive a personal letter from the Prime Minister.

“It was a wonderful thing for the Prime Minister to say and to have his signature at the bottom of the form.

"It is nice for the Prime Minister to acknowledge that community banking is very important.

“Community baking is something that myself and the team are working hard on to find out how other towns can benefit from it.”

Dave said he is working on a project in the USA and in the UK.

He said: “I have just been to Washington D.C in America and I am working on a very big project, more details of which will be revealed in the future.

“I am also working on something in the UK with Jo Gideon, an MP who has worked tirelessly with me over the last few months.

"She is very keen on community banking becoming a real possibility across the UK.”

According to data from consumer company Which?, banks and building societies have closed 6,005 branches since January 2015, at a rate of around 53 a month. 

Banks often point to reduced branch visits and increased use of online and mobile banking when justifying branch closures.

According to the Which? data, Blackburn alone has lost 46.2 per cent of its banking network since 2015.

Dave said bank closures could cause a huge problem down the line.

He said: “The bank closures are causing a huge problem.

“We are looking at how community funding can be accessible across the country. It is a big project that will take months and possibly years.

“When a bank closes in a town you see the town start to descend, with shops and businesses closing because they don’t have access to funding.

“If there is no access to funding, shops and businesses struggle and local people struggle, especially those who [don’t bank digitally].

“I’ve seen stories on social media of local restaurants and businesses are struggling to get change and it’s these small things that people forget about.

“A huge problem is coming and I don’t think the powers that be understand what they are doing.

"They forget why banks are here in the first place. Banks were there to serve you now they are here to serve themselves.”