£30m of funding available to lenders, support services and technology providers who can deliver at scale to broaden the impact of two key Fair4All Finance pilots.
One of our strategic priorities at Fair4All Finance is to develop the market to consistently provide products that meet the needs of all customers.
Earlier this year we were asked to deploy further funding from the Dormant Assets Scheme to support people in financially vulnerable circumstances with the rising cost of living. As part of this we’ve been working on expanding two key pilots – our No Interest Loan Scheme and consolidation lending.
We have £30m of funding to extend both of these pilots and we’re looking to partner with financial services organisations (including lenders, support services and technology providers) with the capacity to reach customers at scale in a responsible way, extending the availability of lending to those in financially vulnerable circumstances to create a stepping stone to financial resilience. Ideally, we will be appointing organisations who can deliver a minimum of 5,000 loans.
We’ve just issued the Applicant Guide and brief inviting proposals requesting funding for these pilots via the Subsidy Control Regime, to be submitted to us by 5pm on Monday 6 November. You can request access to these documents and find out more about this opportunity by emailing us at Consolidations@fair4allfinance.org.uk.
No Interest Loan Scheme pilot
Following a successful proof of concept in 2022 we’re nearing the end of the first wave of lending in our No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) pilot. The pilot is testing the impact of providing small, short term, interest free loans to people for whom borrowing is an appropriate solution but who can’t access or afford existing forms of credit.
Early indications suggest these loans are helping people manage life events and get back on their feet, and are providing a vital stepping stone to longer term financial resilience:
- The average loan value so far is £614 over an average loan term of 7-12 months
- People have used NILS loans to cover upfront nursery fees or car repairs to enable them to get back to work
- Borrowers have been able to go on to qualify for a subsequent commercial loan and some have started saving
We’ll be sharing more on our learnings from the pilot soon as we scale up lending in waves two and three across the next year, with a full impact evaluation scheduled for 2025.
Consolidation lending pilot
During the pandemic 11 million people built up £25bn of debt, and the cost of living crisis and rising interest rates are putting more pressure on already squeezed household budgets.
For many people, debt repayments are a significant monthly expense. And for some, consolidating and re-profiling these over a longer term and/or moving to a lower interest solution would make a huge difference. This kind of intervention can help people stay afloat, supporting them before they reach the need for formal debt solutions.
Our pilot is set up to encourage providers to lend to customers slightly outside their usual risk tolerance, so more people in financially vulnerable circumstances can access this solution.
In return, we are offering a partial bad debt guarantee which is designed to cover any potential increase in risk which may arise from lending to a wider range of customers. In some cases, we may also offer flexible funding to cover setup costs, loan fees and lending capital.