In December 2013, seven of the main high street lenders took a landmark step towards greater transparency in how they serve local economies.  The participating lenders, Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, RBS, Santander, Clydesdale & Yorkshire and Nationwide, released data on personal loans, residential mortgages and loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at a postcode sector level. Participating banks will release this data quarterly for lending in the previous six months. The second tranche of data is due for release in April. This disclosure of lending data comes after a long campaign by organisations, including the Community Investment Coalition (CIC), that believed this transparency was essential to support effective interventions in markets under-served by the main high street finance sector, mainly deprived communities.  Many people and organisations working on financial inclusion issues across the UK knew anecdotally that businesses and households in deprived communities found it harder to access affordable financial … (To read the full article, subscribe below)

Jennifer Tankard is director of advocacy and research at the Community Development Foundation and director of the Community Investment Coalition