Our first focus area

Improving access to affordable credit

Our work aims to improve the financial resilience of individuals and communities. Our initial focus is on addressing the problem of access to affordable credit by providing support and funding for the affordable credit market.

The demand for high cost credit is currently ~£3bn a year and affordable credit just ~£250m a year. ​​

For the millions of people in the UK excluded from access to mainstream credit, fair and affordable lenders like credit unions and CDFIs provide a lifeline. Scaling the affordable credit sector so it can become truly competitive with high cost credit requires transformational change – we call this a 10x challenge. 

We are currently running a pilot scale up programme of capability development for five organisations in the affordable credit sector; Enterprise Credit Union, Fair for You, Five Lamps / Conduit, Leeds City Credit Union and Moneyline.

The aim of this pilot programme is to improve the access, availability and affordability of credit with an emphasis on enabling smaller lenders to scale up or to disrupt the sector more broadly. A Detailed update on this programme, along with recommendations for the wider affordable credit sector, can be found in our report Transforming Affordable Credit in the UK.

As part of this work, we are also:

  • Understanding our target market and the economics of intervention
  • Exploring the possibility of employers providing low costs employee loans
  • Developing a fair and affordable credit standard
  • Convening investors in financial inclusion
  • Improving the fairness of credit scoring
  • Looking to expand the programme beyond a pilot 

Future projects

We are committed to pursuing other innovations that meet the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances. Solutions could potentially include:

Supporting alternatives to credit such as the provision of furniture rental through Housing Associations

Supporting insurance initiatives, that protect against income shocks or increase the scale of home contents cover

Developing programmes and interventions that encourage savings behaviour

If you’ve got a bold idea that you think we should be exploring, please connect with our team.


We are keen that our work adds to other great work that is already happening in this space and are committed to working collaboratively. We are currently in the process of meeting with a wide range of stakeholders across the public, private and third sectors as outlined below:

  • Government and financial inclusion regulators
    Government and financial inclusion regulators
  • Financial inclusion advocates & researchers
    Financial inclusion advocates & researchers
  • Financial guidance and debt advice providers
    Financial guidance and debt advice providers
  • Affordable credit providers
    Affordable credit providers
  • Credit reference agencies
    Credit reference agencies
  • Commercial lenders
    Commercial lenders
  • Housing associations
    Housing associations
  • Employers
  • Technology for good providers
    Technology for good providers
  • Insurance industry
    Insurance industry

Get involved

If you operate in the financial inclusion space and would like to help us in our mission to end financial exclusion, please get in touch.