Small is bankable: Community reinvestment in the UK

Ed Mayo, Thomas Fisher, Pat Conaty, John Doling and Andy Mullineux

Most neglected neighbourhoods include many people and community organisations with the energy and skills to be a significant resource for regeneration. Yet, these groups face the greatest constraints in getting appropriate finance to create employment and enterprise.

As a result, the neighbourhoods that have the most telling need for capital are those that have least access to it. This report explores the community finance initiatives that try to address this paradox. Analysing experience at home and overseas, it looks in particular at five models:

  • Credit unions
  • Community loan funds
  • 'Micro-finance'
  • Mutual guarantee societies, and
  • Social banks

The authors conclude that such initiatives are flexible, creative and persistent in tackling the lack of investment in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. These initiatives offer useful models of policy and practice which can widen access to capital.

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