Community Banking Partnerships

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= "Community Banking Partnerships are a new group of initiatives that are developing in the U.K.They and their Irish and American counterparts offer a glimpse of a radically reconceptualized,“ people-worthy” banking of the future".

Introductory Citation

Mike Lewis and Pat Conaty:

"Might not the nascent community and social finance sector find a strategic opportunity, indeed its 21st century mission, in offering the banking public the very opposite – excellent personal service, financial education, and debt-free living?What would such social banking services look like, and how could they be supplied at sufficient scale?" (makingwaves volume 20, number 3)


Mike Lewis and Pat Conaty:

"Eight Community Banking Partnerships (CBPs) have been set up in eight urban and two rural subregions of Great Britain.One of the ten projects failed, but the rest are evolving steadily into “social co-operative partnerships.”

How do these work?

In most cases a CBP involves a co-delivery alliance between local credit unions, a community development loan fund, and nonprofit debt and money advice agencies. So far this model has been tested to deliver to low-income households four main products and services, known as the ABCDs."

(Advice / Banking / Credit / Deposit)


One example is Fair Finance, a CBP in London that has pioneered a model for funding a money advice and budgeting service alongside the provision of microcredit.

Their Money Matters advice service is backed by a consortium of six nonprofit housing associations that pay to refer their tenants for help. In the past four years the CBP has assisted over 5,000 people in accessing affordable credit and banking services, has set up more than 2,000 debt repayment plans with a high degree of success, and has saved over 1,000 people from eviction. Fair Finance workers are multilingual (English, Bengali, and Somali) and have helped tenants manage over £12 million of debt. The one-to-one support provided by Money Matters has led to a consistency of outcome, with 75% of tenants maintaining their rent repayment plans.

As its name says, Fair Finance makes the practices commonly associated with“fair trade” – equitable treatment for every participant in a market – integral to its social banking services. In “walking the talk” with this simple, yet novel idea, Fair Finance has inspired other CBPs to follow this lead elsewhere nationally. Fair Trade Banking is not just wishful thinking."

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