In this first episode, Nina Kerkez is joined by Sacha Romanovitch, CEO of Fair4All Finance, an organisation founded in 2019 to support the financial well-being of people in vulnerable circumstances. Funded by dormant assets, their mission is to increase access to fair, affordable and appropriate financial products and services, supporting financial inclusion.
Sacha talks about the combination of challenges making the effects of this cost-of-living crisis worse for many in the UK. She cites an estimated £25 billion in debt accumulated by UK adults during the pandemic, as well as an estimated 40% of working adults with deficit incomes. Added to that, the poverty premium phenomena results in those deemed a high credit risk, being forced to pay more for basics like utilities.
"Something we take for granted, like a bank account, can have a transformative effect on people’s lives," Sacha explains. "As well as providing a stepping-stone to financial resilience, access to credit helps people manage life’s ‘lumpy’ expenses, such as a broken appliance, and provides a lifeline for the 14 million UK people who would be unable to handle an unexpected bill of £500 without turning to short term loans."
Ultimately, Sacha says the UK needs to find a way to sustainably fund the ability to provide core financial services to people in difficult situations – "waiting for the market to find a solution on its own, isn’t an option. Credit, when used responsibly, is a really valuable tool, but the key is ensuring a proper risk assessment to make sure it’s affordable and appropriate for people’s needs," she concludes.