London's largest independent charitable funder, City Bridge Foundation has worked with Responsible Finance to provide £600,000 of ‘first loss’ funding, split equally between three not-for-profit, community lenders and Responsible Finance members – Fair Finance, Fair for You and Salad Money.
This will enable the organisations, also known as community development finance institutions (CDFIs), to lever in more than £4.2 million in other investment, in turn allowing them to lend up to £10 million to between 10,000 and 13,000 Londoners. It will act as a two-year, independently evaluated pilot, providing evidence about the economic and social impacts of first loss funding for CDFIs.
In 2022, the three lenders made loans of £4.1 million to 8,100 in London, saving customers an average of £308 in interest compared to other sources of credit available to them, as well as safeguarding families’ mental and physical health.
The three organisations help people excluded from mainstream credit to access vital loans for expenses such as car repairs, replacing household items or dealing with an unexpected bill or life event. This prevents these customers from having to pay over the odds for high-cost and payday loans, suffering the so-called ‘poverty premium’, as they incur higher costs than those with greater incomes, or even feeling they have no option but to turn to loan sharks.
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