Since the recession, triggered by the 2008 collapse of a range of financial service providers, much debate has focused on banking as a utility  – as critical to managing every day life as water and electricity. Before the recession banks were already withdrawing services, with declines in small business lending and bank branch closures reducing accessibility. But the recession has accelerated this trend, especially in deprived communities. Payday lenders have seen these market gaps as market opportunities.  Their exponential growth and rapidly rising profits demonstrate that there is business to be had in poorer areas but at a price. Unscrupulous lenders target those most in need of short-term credit but least well equipped to manage the consequences. Payday lenders are not the only organisations to step into the void.  Many local authorities and other local partnerships have also seen the need for alternative providers. Previous editions of New Start have highlighted … (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