News

Covid-19 Resilience Fund and Affordable Credit Scale-up Programme launch 

9 April 2020

We are launching two programmes to help the affordable credit sector emerge from the Covid-19 crisis in a resilient state and to scale it thereafter.  

  • The Covid-19 Resilience 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
  • 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

Covid-19 Resilience Fund 

Covid-19 presents significant financial challenges to millions of people across the country. At this time, it is more important than ever that the financial system is supportive of their needs and helps them to maintain their financial wellbeing. Affordable credit providers provide valuable credit for essential goods and it is important that the sector is supported to look after their customers and to adapt their model to the new way of working. We know that the effects of this crisis on the affordable credit sector are already challenging and may become even more so. We’ve listened carefully to understand how the crisis is impacting both consumers and affordable credit providers to establish how we best support the sector. 

This has informed the launch of the Covid-19 Resilience Fund to provide short-term grant funding to help providers to deal with temporary shortfalls in income and additional operational costs due to the crisis.  

  •  We expect to be able to support some  50 organisations with up to £5m of funding with grants that will range from £20,000-£350,000 in size 
  • The fund is designed to support organisations who already have a track record of sustainably serving customers in vulnerable circumstances  
  • We will not be able to support every organisation providing affordable credit, so we will focus our resources on those that meet the eligibility criteria detailed in Fair4All – Covid-19 Resilience Fund and Scale-up Programme. Salary finance providers are not eligible for this funding

Further information 

Affordable Credit Scale-up Programme 

Our Affordable Credit Scale-up Programme is designed to provide a tailored support to sustainably scale affordable credit as part of the wider transformation of financial services to better meet the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances.   This Fund 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 

  • The support will vary based on the unique needs of organisations. The case studies for each of the pilot organisations is included in the linked funding brochure to give insight into the possible outcomes from participating in the programme 
  • The expression of interest will open in May 
  • Programme decisions and investments will follow a business diagnostic process and will be made from October 2020 

For more information on the programme please view the fund brochure.


 

Fair4All Finance would like to recognise and appreciate the considerable input we have received in designing these programmes, in particularly from Carnegie Trust UK, ABCUL, Responsible Finance and our five pilot organisations.

Robert Kelly, CEO of ABCUL said:

“ABCUL warmly welcomes the announcement of the Covid-19 Resilience Fund and the Affordable Credit Scale Up Programme by Fair4All Finance.  The current crisis presents significant challenges to the financial well-being of so many parts of society all across the country and the affordable credit marketplace will be instrumental in supporting households in both the short and longer term.

In particular the credit union sector has a long track record of building financial resilience, promoting safe saving and providing ethical and innovative lending products.  These support measures will undoubtedly assist credit unions across England underpin their own immediate business risks as well as provide opportunities to press ahead with strategic development and transformation plans in the future.  Fair4All Finance have enabled a genuine collaborative and consultative approach in building these programmes and we look forward to supporting both initiatives and solidifying our relationship in the weeks and months ahead”

Theodora Hadjimichael, CEO of Responsible Finance said:

“CDFIs have demonstrated the importance of the affordable credit sector in stabilising household finances during this time of rapid change. The steps taken by the sector to secure customers’ financial wellbeing are market-leading, but the crisis poses a wider risk to the sector’s own resilience. Fair4All Finance worked closely with us and many others across the sector to design a response that is both timely and practical. We welcome this announcement of the two programmes together as they will provide a path to extend the sector’s impact and continue to innovate to meet the needs of vulnerable households over the long term.”

 

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