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Fair Finance, with the support of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, begins a major project looking to strengthen the financial resilience of low income communities in London

Nearly 13m people across the country would be pushed into financial difficulty with an unexpected bill. Rising living costs and increasing job insecurity for low income families makes this an increasingly challenging issue nationally but also for the 2m, mostly working, people living in poverty in London

Fair Finance is a London based social business serving nearly 20,000 people a year struggling to access financial services. Its clients are mostly low and moderate earners who they help by providing an alternative payday or doorstep loans, and also providing advice to help them manage their finances

With the support of J.P. Morgan, Fair Finance will develop a series of interventions to improve people’s ability to manage financial shocks and improve their financial security over time.

Fair Finance will run a series of trials over 18 months with 1500 clients to test different approaches to building financial resilience. The trials will explore behavioural and nudge techniques, specific coaching programs as we well as technology to improve financial capability.

In addition Fair Finance will conduct an in-depth customer research program of their clients to better understand their financial lives, and the factors limiting their take up of existing services or technologies that could help them manage their finances.

Underpinning this project will be clear analyses of costs and benefits of delivering the various services that will help to understand the social business case of delivering the work. The findings will be shared publicly, along with the insights from their customer financial lives.

Faisel Rahman, CEO of Fair Finance said:

“We have always believed that improving people’s ability to manage and control their finances makes good business sense and has a positive impact on their lives. We are grateful for the support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation that will help us test this rigorously and encourage other service providers to do so as well.”

Hang Ho, Head of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation for EMEA and LatAm, said:

“Reducing the impact of unexpected expenses is key to improving the financial health of low-income households in London. Innovative solutions designed around people’s lives are fundamental to solving this problem and our renewed partnership with Fair Finance will allow us to do just that.”

If you want to find out more about this work please contact Fair Finance directly by email to enquiries@fairfinance.org.uk or by phone 0203 475 4720

Some background facts:

  • 2.3 million Londoners live in poverty (with less than £20k per year) and 2/3 of them live in working families1
  • Poor Londoners have unstable income: 350k of working age employees are deemed at risk of insecure employment (zero-hours contract, temporary employment)2. In 2017, 15,000 families lost up to £50 a week of income due to the new benefit cap3.
  • Poor Londoners pay more for decent living: Rent makes up to 59% of their income4 + they pay on average 490£/year5 more for basic services (e.g. expensive credit, paper bills, energy meter payment)6.
  • Money Advice Service research (2016) shows that nearly three-quarters of households receive an unexpected bill every year, with a typical cost of £200–400. However, 26% of working-age adults have no savings to fall back on and a further 29% have less than £1,000 saved7 .”and 60% of those earning less than £15,000/year have no content insurance8 (95% of Fair Finance clients have no content insurance)
  • Fair Finance is a non profit social business focused on financial inclusion. Since 2005 it has lent over £20m and helped over 50,000 residents in London and the South East with an alternative to payday and doorstep lenders with finance or advice.

1 https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/news/27-londoners-poverty/

2 https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/data/insecure-work-age/

3 https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2017/08/benefits-thousands-families-drop-because-cap-dwp-figures-show

4 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20943576

5 https://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/geography/pfrc/pfrc1614-poverty-premium-key-findings.pdf

6 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20943576

7 https://masassets.blob.core.windows.net/cms/files/000/000/795/original/Savings_review_FINAL.pdf

8 http://www.financialinclusioncommission.org.uk/pdfs/improving_access_to_household_insurance.pdf

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