The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a report setting out feedback received from roundtables on its review of high-cost credit. The report summarises the issues and ideas raised by participants to three FCA roundtables, hosted in September and October 2017. The roundtables covered two areas: a general discussion on alternatives to high-cost credit, and a focused discussion on the provision of essential goods. The key themes that emerged from the discussions include the following:
• Accessing capital is a major challenge for alternative lenders. Raising awareness of the social benefits could encourage investment from social investors.
• Alternative lending is most effective as part of a complete package of services. Exploring the scope for partnerships across public agencies and the financial services industry would increase the range of assistance available to consumers.
• Greater clarity about the regulatory boundaries and compliance with regulatory requirements could support more cross-referrals at a community-level to providers of alternatives to high-cost credit.
• There is scope for exploring measures by public bodies that could be taken to reduce the cost of accessing data, and to fill gaps in traditional data sources.
• There are opportunities for public bodies and others to take a greater advocacy role in raising awareness about alternative lending.
• Social housing providers’ provision of essential goods to tenants can be encouraged through the delivery of clarity about funding sources, a clear pathway to delivery, and the social benefits.