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Responsible Finance: The Industry in 2018

Publication Microfinance overview surveys

The UK’s ethical “responsible finance” sector grew by 8% (£19 million) in 2018, according to the latest edition of "The Industry in 2018" launched by Responsible Finance.

Responsible finance providers helped tens of thousands of financially vulnerable people to avoid borrowing from high-interest lenders.

They also supported thousands of credit-worthy businesses and social enterprises rejected by or unable to access finance from mainstream lenders.

The providers, otherwise known as community development financial institutions, lend to financially excluded individuals and to viable businesses and social enterprises.

New research demonstrates:

  • Responsible finance providers lent a total of £254 million to 52,121 customers in 2018, an 8% increase on the £235m lent in 2017.
  • The providers lent £85 million to 5,310 businesses, creating 4,490 new businesses and creating or saving 10,370 jobs. This was a 27% increase on the £67m lent to UK businesses in 2017.
  • £138 million was lent to 475 social enterprises – 112 more social enterprises than in 2017 – creating and saving 4,060 further jobs.
  • £26 million was lent in 45,900 loans to individuals (£4m more than in 2017). 23,230 of those taking out loans from a responsible finance personal lender had previously borrowed from a high cost lender.
  • £5 million was lent to 430 homeowners, bringing homes up to a decent standard and enabling 220 customers to stay in their own homes.

Alongside the lending figures, the research includes postcode mapping showing how responsible finance loans are made in areas with low bank lending and high levels of deprivation.

It also demonstrates how responsible finance providers contribute directly towards reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals.