Charity-Owned Alternative To High-Cost Credit Performs Better Than Expected In First Year

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british-pound by kwwoo via flickr

Fair for You Enterprise CIC was granted its full FCA authorisation exactly one year ago today, on Wednesday 30th November 2015.

As a result, the charity has been able to offer an alternative to high cost lenders and rent-to-own stores by providing affordable loans to lower income families for essential items. The loans are repaid in affordable weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments, depending on the customer’s income patterns.

Despite having to compete with the multi-million pound advertising budgets of the incumbent lenders and rent-to-own stores, in its first year, Fair for You has delivered:

  • 3,500 loans to customers from across the UK, from Lerwick on Shetland in northern Scotland to St Ives in Cornwall, and everywhere in between.
  • Customer savings estimated at >£1,000,000, when compared to the cost of obtaining the same items from a rent-to-own store.
  • £1,000,000 of affordable lending issued to lower income families.
  • >550 independent customer reviews on Trust Pilot, with an overall Trust Score rating of 9.8, making it =3rd in the non-bank finance category.
  • Founder and CEO, Angela Clements Highly Commended as Social Enterprise Woman’s Champion in the 2016 SEUK awards, and a finalist in the Consumer Facing Social Enterprise category.

Fair for You Founder and CEO, Angela Clements said, ‘It’s been phenomenally hard work, and we could not have achieved it without the support of many around us – our Board, our Trustees, our staff, our retailer partners, and not forgetting our customers.

‘None of this would have been possible though without the faith and belief placed in us by our amazing initial funders; Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Barrow Cadbury Trust, The Tudor Trust and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation. We are delighted to report that we have just secured our next tranche of funding to allow us to develop further in 2017, and that comes from The Robertson Trust in Scotland, among other social investors.

‘From very small beginnings, we have built something that we’re very proud of, and we are just starting. We now provide a credible challenge to the high cost credit sector, who for too long have preyed on customers who have felt without useful alternatives that meet their needs.

‘Whilst we are only just 12 months old, we have led the way in highlighting the issues, and, through our charity’s Social Impact reports, have shown the immense benefit that a simple £300 loan for a washing machine can make to our customers’ lives; it is actually life-changing. We have the proof that we can change the way that credit is delivered to our poorest households. The way to address poverty is to remove the premium paid when buying essential items for the home.

Customers tell us how they feel that their children’s bedrooms are warm, they have their own beds, and that they can cook a proper meal. This is not just about providing them with small, affordable loans – what we do goes way beyond that.

Customer, Marie Marland, from Manchester said, ‘Finding Fair for You was brilliant for me. The application process was simple, and streamlined, and the people I dealt with were brilliant. The cost, because they don’t much interest, was a bonus. I’d recommend them to anyone.’

Peter Holbrook, CEO of SEUK said, ‘Fair for You are taking on the often predatory actions of high cost weekly payment stores. They’re a fantastic example of a social enterprise entering a dysfunctional market, causing disruption and transformation that works for low income communities.

‘We need more social enterprises like Fair for You, to show that there is a different way of doing business – one that puts people and communities ahead of private profit.

Ben Reid, Chair of Fair for You CIC said, ‘Clearly what we have achieved in our first year is nothing short of fantastic. However, to continue to build on that great start, and to be able to reach even more people who need us, we need those in the sector – social enterprises, social landlords, charities, voluntary and community groups to get behind our efforts and spread the word about Fair for You to their service users.