Programmes and Funding

Enabling sector change

We are working towards a financial sector that provides products and services to everyone who needs them, in a way that is successful and sustainable. We know that by doing this we will have improved people’s wellbeing and had a positive impact on society and the economy as a whole.

Our initial focus is on addressing the problem of access to affordable credit by providing support and funding for the affordable credit market.

We are committed to pursuing other innovations that meet the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances and we will soon be launching programmes on insurance and savings.

Transforming affordable credit

10x challenge

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. We believe customers in vulnerable circumstances and financial difficulty should have access to a fair and affordable credit option when appropriate to their circumstances. This option should be available from providers who charge a reasonable price based on risk and who treat customers with fairness and support to improve their situation throughout their journey with a lender.

High-cost lenders currently loan 10x more than ethical providers.

Scaling the affordable credit sector so it can become truly competitive with high-cost credit requires transformational change – we call this a 10x challenge. 

Five focus areas

We’ve identified five opportunity areas from our work to date

Systems change and impact

Deliver, influence and evidence impact of systemic change to society

Funding, finance & investment

Enable affordable long-term financing for providers

Operational excellence & capability

Optimise sustainable operating models for providers

Governance, leadership & talent

Building strong governance and a pipeline of transformational leaders and talent for the sector

Markets, consumer insights & product design

Enable well-designed solutions that build wellbeing to reach the people and communities we wish to serve 

Our programmes

Our work to date has focussed on expanding the provision of affordable credit through a scaled community finance sector. All programmes are currently closed for applications, but you can read more about them by expanding the headings below. Future opportunities will be added to this page and shared widely on social media.

Organisations that are eligible may apply for one or more of our programmes based on their needs.

Pilot Affordable Credit Scale Up Programme

In August 2019 we launched 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 to people in vulnerable circumstances with an emphasis on enabling alternative lenders to scale to prove models for sustainable serving this customer group. 

We have worked with five organisations to conduct a detailed business diagnostic into each of them and understand how we can best support the sustainable growth of the organisations and the wider sector. 

  • We have summarised our overall learning and developed some early recommendations for the sector in our report Transforming Affordable Credit in the UK
  • We have committed to a tailored package of support and investment for each of the organisations to help them scale sustainably
Affordable Credit Scale Up Programme

After a successful pilot, we expanded our scale-up programme to support more affordable credit providers. An expanded Affordable Credit Scale-up Programme will help the sector to play its part in the 10x growth challenge in the delivery of affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

The programme is designed to provide a package of tailored support to sustainably scale affordable credit as part of the wider transformation of financial services and to help the sector develop a sustainable model for serving people in vulnerable circumstances. 

Watch our CEO Sacha Romanovitch introduce the Affordable Credit Scale-Up Programme:

Successful organisations will be given support tailored to their unique needs, informed by the organisations’ own assessment of needs and our detailed due diligence process. Support could comprise of either long-term equity-like investment or debt funding, grant funding to develop organisational capacity and capability, or a mixture of all. 

The Affordable Credit Scale-up Programme is designed for ambitious organisations that are operationally sustainable, with a proven track record of serving customers in vulnerable circumstances without reliance on grant income. We are seeking applications from these organisations and please only apply if you are at this point. There will be future opportunities to engage with us for organisations earlier on their growth journeys. 

The programme builds on our pilot programme which has been running since August 2019. The five organisations on this pilot programme – Enterprise Credit Union, Fair for You, Five Lamps, Leeds Credit Union and Moneyline – all received support tailored to the needs of their organisations to help them to scale. 

Full details on the programme, including eligibility requirements and case studies of support given to our five pilot programme partners are available in our brochure.

Please note applications for this programme closed on Monday 22 June

Covid-19 Resilience Fund

Covid-19 presents significant financial challenges to millions of people across the country. At this timeit is more important than ever that the financial system is supportive of their needs and helps them to maintain their wellbeing through some financial security.  

We know that the effects of this crisis on the affordable credit sector are already challenging and may become even more so, and we launched a new Covid-19 Resilience Fund to help the sector emerge in a resilient state

  • The Covid-19 fund will provide up to £5m in grant funding to CDFIs and credit unions in England in the coming months in response to the pandemic
  • For more information about our Scale-up programme and Covid-19 Resilience Fund please view the information pack: Covid-19 Resilience Fund and Scale-up Programme
  • To date we have committed c£3.1m of support to 23 responsible lenders
  • These organisations collectively lent around £100m in the last year and serve 122,000 customers, meaning that this intervention helps to preserve around 40% of capacity targeted at people in vulnerable circumstances in the affordable credit sector

This support comprises a mixture of financial support to help organisations manage the impact of lost income and additional forbearance costs caused by the crisis on their organisational strength, and funding for technical support needed to adapt models to serve customers during this period. 

Please note applications for this programme closed on Monday 22 June 

Theory of Change

Our Theory of Change has been developed alongside the Esmèe Fairbairn Foundation in consultation with the affordable credit and financial inclusion sectors. It is intended to be a shared Theory of Change for every organisation that is contributing to solving the problem of a subscale provision of affordable credit in the UK. Fair4All Finance will work on part of this and in collaboration with others to drive systemic change.

Future programmes

We are committed to pursuing other innovations that meet the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances and in addition to our work on affordable credit we will be launching programmes on insurance and savings. Solutions could potentially include:

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.

Partners

We are keen that our work adds to other great work that is already happening in this space and are committed to working collaboratively. From small community finance providers to major mainstream players, we’re here to work with the whole financial services sector to sustainably serve customers in vulnerable circumstances.​

  • 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
    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.