Responsible Personal Finance

Over 16 million working-age people across the UK are estimated to be at financial risk, with less than £100 in the bank as a savings buffer. Households with low income, low savings and high debt are likely to find it difficult to cope with a financial shock such as unemployment or an illness.

It’s well known that it’s far easier to prevent financial problems with money management than to fix them, but despite this – and despite the growth in the number of households feeling the squeeze – very few people seek help with basic financial management before things become difficult.

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Researchers from our Centre for Business in Society have been investigating new and more effective ways of encouraging responsible lending and borrowing, working with UK credit unions to target the source of the problems and spread knowledge of better practice across the sector.

Our experts set out to improve the whole process of borrowing – focusing specifically on access to affordable credit for people with low and moderate incomes – and were involved in the development of an online tool to help people to improve their resilience against financial instability before any problems set it. The project is also improving education around saving and borrowing habits to help ensure positive change for the future.

By continuing to offer help to encourage responsible lending across the sector, the researchers are influencing public debate with mainstream banks and regulators. As well as producing materials to spread the word about responsible borrowing, the team’s workshops are also leading the conversation around the role of credit unions as responsible lenders.

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