We have been working on a number of different research projects this year and will publish findings for many of them over the next few months. These include:
Covid-19 banking best practice
To support our banking engagement strategy we are researching the way that the retail banking sector responded to the challenges that customers have faced during the pandemic, particularly in 2020.
Much of the work banks did during this period was unprecedented and was a great help to customers during this difficult period. We therefore think it is appropriate to understand this more to highlight successes and to inform potential approaches to handling the current squeeze on the cost of living.
Increasing the financial inclusion of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
In partnership with Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, NatWest Group and StepChange, this research aims to fill current gaps in understanding and will explore practical short, medium and long term solutions to current inequalities. The goal is to show how financial services providers can be more inclusive of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
We’ve completed the first part of this research and are convening a Practitioner Group from across the financial sector, including banks, regulators and money advice services that serve minority ethnic communities. The group will engage early in the research findings and work collaboratively to turn recommendations into actionable solutions.
The second part of the research is underway and we’ll publish findings and more details on next steps later this year.
Illegal money lending
We are conducting new research to better understand the current illegal moneylending situation in the UK. This includes in person interactions and more recent developments that take place in online introductions and transactions conducted digitally. We aim to gain a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the scale and nature of illegal moneylending in the UK through:
- Better understanding the lived experience from both a borrower and lender perspective
- Understanding the impact of UK regulatory changes on trajectory of illegal moneylending based on international experience
- Analysing appropriate datasets to better understand the emergence of digital illegal lending
We’re currently speaking to borrowers and lenders across four locations in the UK (South London, Glasgow, Port Talbot, Preston) and look to highlight the current scale and future trajectory of illegal moneylending by the end of 2022.
Payroll and deductions lending
We’ve been working with the Financial Inclusion Centre on research into lending where repayments are deducted at source from people’s salary or benefits. This is to better understand the impact of these lending models on customers and lenders, and to establish good practice in their delivery to maximise benefits and mitigate any potential risks.
We partnered with seven credit unions, who provided us with lender data which has been analysed along with a wide ranging survey, interviews with borrowers and further insight from the lenders themselves and other stakeholders.
Huge thanks to everyone who has been involved so far. We plan to publish our full findings in the autumn.