About Us

Changing credit for good & improving support for people with debts

We work to influence the regulation of credit markets, and to improve the way that credit is provided.

We also work to create better support and solutions for people who are struggling with debt.

Founded in 2010, we drove the campaign for caps on the total cost of credit that could be charged by payday lenders. Brought into effect by the Financial Conduct Authority in 2015 the total cost cap has saved approximately 760,000 borrowers up to £150 million per year since then.

We also campaigned for, and won, a cap on the rent-own-lenders in 2019. This has reduced costs for people who had previously been paying extortionate prices for basic household items such as cookers and fridges.

Today we are providing free consultancy and strategic support for the We are Debt Advisers campaign which is focused on stopping proposed cuts to face to face debt advice services and improving the debt solutions available to people in financial difficulty.

We are also working with Jubilee Debt Campaign to bring the voices of debtors themselves into policy making as well as to campaign for a write-down of unjust debts.

Aside from our campaigning activities, we are the innovators behind rent-flex and Financial Shield, and provide high quality research, evaluation, and consultancy services to improve lending practices and the support available for people in debt.

Check out our timeline below.

Transforming the landlord - resident relationship

Led by the Centre for Responsible Credit and Well Thought, and co-created with residents and national housing associations, a new approach has been developed.

At its simplest, rent-flex offers a new way for residents to plan and pay their rent, however, at the core of rent-flex is a ‘joint planning’ framework with potential to transform the landlord – resident relationship

Residents are offered personalised rent payment plans: providing them with the opportunity to pay less rent in months when money is tight, and slightly more when things are that little bit easier.

In exchange, residents engage with support services and keep their housing provider informed of their financial situation so any extra help required can be provided.

To find out more about rent-flex, visit the website here!

Financial Shield is piloting a new approach to improve support for people with health and financial problems in Lambeth and Southwark, with the potential for national roll out.

Funded by Impact on Urban Health, the project forms part of their wider programme to improve outcomes for people with multiple long-term health conditions.  

Financial Shield will be tested with up to 2,000 people in Lambeth and Southwark through to September 2022. Led by the Centre for Responsible Credit, the pilot brings Primary Care Networks, social prescribing teams, and creditors together with advice and community based support agencies to provide a holistic response to people’s financial and health support needs.  You can find out more about the members of our Financial Shield partnership here.

Today we are providing free consultancy and strategic support for the We are Debt Advisers campaign which is focused on stopping proposed cuts to face to face debt advice services and improving the debt solutions available to people in financial difficulty.

We are also working with Jubilee Debt Campaign to bring the voices of debtors themselves into policy making as well as to campaign for a write-down of unjust debts.

Aside from our campaigning activities, we are the innovators behind rent-flex and Financial Shield, and provide high quality research, evaluation, and consultancy services to improve lending practices and the support available for people in debt.

2010

CfRC is established as an independently directed unit within the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion and we start work campaigning for caps on the total cost of credit.

2012

Following a study tour to Japan, we report on their successful interest rate caps and other measures to tackle irresponsible lending (Download Report here). The report is referred to in Parliament and is influential in gaining cross-party support for our campaign. This leads to the Financial Conduct Authority being provided with the power to cap prices in the Financial Services Act of that year.

2013

We draft a Private Member's Bill concerning high cost credit for Paul Blomfield MP & work with Stella Creasy MP and Lord Sharkey to ensure an amendment is put to the Banking Reform Bill. This seeks to compel the Financial Conduct Authority to use its powers to cap prices for payday lenders.  The amendment passes in the Lords on 25th November.

2014

The Financial Conduct Authority brings forwards proposals to cap prices. These come into effect the following year. Subsequent evaluations indicate that this saves payday lending borrowers £150 million per year.

With funding from Barrow Cadbury Trust, we undertake and publish a review of local welfare schemes in England.

2016

Our report for the TUC reveals how British household debt burdens are unsustainable, and calls for a review of debt advice and insolvency solutions. (Download Report here).

The Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion merges with NIACE to become the Learning & Work Institute. CfRC continues as an independently directed unit within Learning & Work.

With funding from JP Morgan Charitable Foundation we also publish a review of services seeking to improve the financial health of low-income households. This highlights the need for greater flexibility with household bill payments.

2017

We begin work on a small rent-flex pilot with Optivo Housing Association tenants.

We also refresh our work on local welfare schemes, highlighting huge cuts in the level of support and call for greater investment in services to prevent people from falling into debt.

We start campaigning for a cap on the prices being charged by Rent-to-Own lenders.

2019

With funding from the Money and Pensions Service we evaluate the findings from the initial rent-flex pilot, and start to seek funding for larger scale, digital, trials.

Working with the University of Brighton, we scope out the Reshaping Financial Support Project for the Local Government Association.

The FCA introduces a cap on the prices being charged by Rent-to-Own lenders.

2020

CfRC leaves the Learning and Work Institute and establishes itself as an independent not for profit company.

We conduct a social impact assessment for the not for profit lender, Fair for You, which identifies benefits of over £5 million. The report is hailed as setting a new standard for social impact reporting for the sector by Fair4All Finance.

Working with our partners Well Thought Ltd, funding is obtained from Innovate UK to develop our rent-flex digital platform and begin a trial with Optivo tenants.

With funding from Impact on Urban Health we scope out and start to deliver the Financial Shield project to improve support for people with long-term health conditions and money worries.

2021

JP Morgan Charitable Foundation agrees funding to support two further rent-flex trials.

CfRC helps to establish the We are Debt Advisers Campaign to stop cuts to face-to-face debt advice.

We are commissioned by Fair4All Finance to evaluate their Covid-19 Resilience Fund for the affordable credit sector.

OUR WORK IN NUMBERS
150

Million pounds per year saved for 760,000 payday loan borrowers since 2015 due to our successful campaign to cap the total cost of credit.

900

Thousand + pounds of rent being flexed by Optivo tenants this year, providing interest free help for low income households facing cash-flow problems, and linking them to wider support.

500

+ front-line debt advisers now active in our campaign to save face to face debt services from cuts.