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Street UK social impact report outlines need for ethical, affordable loans

Street UK is a not-for-profit affordable finance company that provides short-term personal loans to people who would not have access to mainstream credit and would therefore have to use doorstep lenders, high-cost payday loans, pawnbrokers and money-shops.

It operates in branches across the West Midlands, and in April 2016 launched an online lending platform aimed to disrupt the online loans market by offering loans at a much lower rate than that of the established online lenders.

Street UK have launched a new Social Impact Report examining the extent to which Street UK is achieving its goal of creating greater financial inclusion. Key findings show that:

  • Financial support is not restricted to having a solely financial impact in the borrower’s life. 79% of surveyed clients agree that getting a loan from Street UK had more than just a financial impact. These include improvements to their level of stress, overall health, self-esteem and relationships with family and/or friends.
  •  An individual’s previous credit history will not always be an accurate reflection of their ability to repay future loans. 73.6% of the people Street UK lend to have a past default on their credit file, but over 90% of the loans advanced are repaid.
  • Many people are struggling to meet the everyday costs that those on higher incomes can take for granted. Street UK loans are most commonly used for home improvements, Christmas and holiday expenditure.
  • Short-term loans do not have to be expensive. They can be provided both online and on the high street for reasonable interest rates that cover the costs and associated risk of lending.
  • social sector organisations need to signpost those who are most vulnerable in society and low income households to affordable finance to avoid the risk of them falling into unmanageable volumes of debt.

The platform was developed in partnership with London-based charity St Martin’s Partnership, and is also backed by social investment loans from Barrow Cadbury Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and Big Issue Invest.