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FinCris: Responsibilities, Ethics and the Financial Crisis


Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)




University of Birmingham;

University of Warwick;

Centre for Business in Society.

Project team

Professor Tom Sorrell (Philosophy),

Professor Andy Mullineux (Economics),

Professor Karen Rowlingson, Dr Lindsey Appleyard, Jodi Gardner (Responsible lending and borrowing)

Project objectives

FinCris seeks to enlarge the public understanding of the financial crisis and the understanding among officials, regulatory and consumer bodies of the ethical issues raised by the crisis, specifically, how responsibilities for what has gone wrong create obligations to some of those badly affected by the crisis.

FinCris is a 3 year Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project from July 2012. It is a collaboration between philosophers, economists, and social policy academics.

Impact statement

Responsible lending and borrowing workstream

The aim of this research was to explore the issue of responsible lending and borrowing for people on low and middle incomes in the UK. 


As part of this research, we carried out: desk research; interviews and workshops with key stakeholders; and in-depth interviews with 44 people who had borrowed from credit unions, doorstep lenders, rent-to-own and both online and retail payday lenders within the last 12 months in the West Midlands and Oxfordshire regions of the UK. 


We also sought to learn lessons, for the UK, from the introduction of a national cap on the cost of credit in Australia. This was evidenced in contributions we made to the Banking Standards Review and to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

We have a number of publications:

  • Rowlingson, K. Appleyard, L. Gardner, J. (2016) ‘Responsible lending and borrowing: policy implications in the UK’. In Ferretti, F. (Ed) Comparative perspectives of Consumer Over-indebtedness – A view from the UK, Germany, Greece and Italy. The Hague, Eleven International Publishing.
  • Rowlingson, K. Appleyard, L. and Gardner, J. (2016) Payday lending in the UK: the regul(aris)ation of a necessary evil?. Journal of Social Policy, doi:10.1017/S0047279416000015      
 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023