Aug 3, 2023
A community banking agreement brokered by a disadvantaged
community with a mainstream bank two decades ago offers valuable
insights to address financial exclusion today.
Niall Alexander, a "community worker by trade" says the
"groundswell" in addressing unfairness and financial exclusion is
now reaching a peak. People "aren't asking for gold plated taps" –
they need very small sums of money, but could turn to illegal
lenders if fair and affordable credit isn't available legally.
Niall, now Markets and Consumer Insights Manager with Fair4All
Finance, covers a lot of ground in this episode and doesn't mince
A couple of decades ago he worked in Wester Hailes, a peripheral
housing estate in Edinburgh. With some "amazing community
activists" they set up a community banking agreement with the Bank
- What did it achieve for disadvantaged, under-served and
- How has Niall's journey from community worker to bank employee
to working with community development finance institutions, then
Carnegie UK informed his work with Fair4All Finance?
- What are his key priorities with Fair4All? Niall describes the
recent powerful report into illegal money lending and other
forthcoming research due in September 2023.
- Why is Niall a fan of good, fit-for-purpose legislation.
- What can we do to help people avoid illegal lenders and scale
up affordable credit?
- How has Michael Sheen's engagement in addressing high-cost
lending been helpful?
- Why should we, and how can we, quantify the value and benefit
of the wraparound services that not for profit lenders offer?
- And what potential does a Community Reinvestment Act – or Fair
Banking Act – offer in the UK?
Many people work really hard to run really good businesses with
wafer thin margins in community finance. And there are good people
in mainstream finance who want to find common ground – despite
different cultures – and Niall is confident in the potential for a
"slow then sudden" change.
- Visit the Fair4All Finance website for reports mentioned in
this episode https://fair4allfinance.org.uk
Read about the report from Fair4All Finance and We Fight Fraud
‘As one door closes – Experiences of illegal moneylending during an
emerging cost of living crisis’
- Listen to our
podcast episode with Michael Sheen
- Learn more about Fair Finance, Fair for You, Moneyline, Salad
Money and Responsible Finance, which represents social purpose,
community lenders in the UK: https://responsiblefinance.org.uk