Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Responsible Finance Podcast

Dec 8, 2022

Ready for some big numbers? How about £165 million? Just one of the staggering figures revealed in Salad Money's first ever impact report.

Salad CEO Tim Rooney tells us how the social enterprise, which lends to NHS and Public Sector workers, has helped applicants identify £165m in benefits they could apply for but were not claiming.

Its customers "spend to and not beyond their means," he says, "but when they are faced with a financial hurdle, they typically will turn to credit and that's when we are there." It has saved them at least £5.2m in interest, according to its new report.

He covers multiple parts of Salad Money's social impact. 4 in 10 borrowers have had a county court judgment (CCJ) in the past, but these are "not necessarily a barrier" because of the firm's 'More Than Your Score' ethos – "we've never used credit bureaux (credit reference agencies) to make decisions about affordable and appropriate lending."

So how does it do it? Tim explains how Open Banking powers its affordability assessments and can unlock multiple other benefits for applicants – he's excited about the potential to help more people get broadband and utilities social tariffs they are eligible for.

The report includes calls for action which would build financial inclusion and help the millions of people excluded from credit. Tim gives details.

Salad has developed its own machine learning tools to analyse the four to six thousand data points it gets per applicant. Tim describes how these help it understand the inflationary and other pressures consumers are under. "We're attuned to using the data to help us make decisions. It's not a machine making a decision, it's a machine helping our team to make the best decisions for borrowers."

The report has multiple other metrics and maps Salad's impact against an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) framework and specific UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as gender equality too.

Impact Investors, Tim says, are now waking up to the social impact that Salad and other CDFIs (community development finance institutions) and social purpose finance providers unlock.

What next?