This update comes at a difficult time for households across the country, especially those already in vulnerable circumstances and as the cost of living continues to grow the outlook for many is bleak. This reaffirms how important the work we’re all doing to increase access to fair and affordable products and services is.
Our focus over the last six months has been to sustain momentum in scaling the provision of affordable credit, building the evidence base as to what works in designing and delivering products and services that improve outcomes for people and getting up and running on pilots to meet gaps in product provision.
- Delivered further investments from our Affordable Credit Scale Up Programme with over 80% of funds allocated to this area now deployed to community finance providers
- Initiated the proof of concept for our no interest loan scheme pilot up and running ahead of the wider pilot rollout in the autumn
- Progressed key pieces of research and sector support tools with findings and outputs ready to be shared over the coming month
Coming over the next months:
- Financial Inclusion Theory of Change – building on our work with you we are crystallising work across the board into a single overall plan. This will help us work together to focus our work
- Affordable credit scale up workshop to build on the Woolard review and develop alignment around how everyone from social lenders, banks, high cost lenders and regulators can work together to address the shortfall of provision in this market
- Customer segmentation research – getting an in depth understanding of different financial behaviours to inform more tailored marketing, product design and service delivery. This in depth work is now in testing to validate the research outputs and ensure that it is delivered in a way that it becomes a valuable tool for anyone looking to deliver financial products and services to people in vulnerable circumstances
- Acceleration of key pilots to assist with the Cost of Living Crisis. This includes expansion of NILS as we move into the wider roll out and also a pilot of consolidation loans, already successfully provided by some credit unions, to support those struggling to meet their debt commitments yet still in a position where a different financial product could be of benefit to them
Other key research findings which will be coming through the next months include: Financial exclusion of diverse ethnic communities, Illegal moneylending in the UK and how banks stepped up to adapt products and services to support customers in Covid.
Finally, the Dormant Assets Scheme consultation is open. If you agree that continuing to fund financial inclusion is incredibly important then please respond to the consultation in support of this cause.