Financial Support to Socially Excluded Citizens
Author: Glasgow City Council |
Big Ideas Glasgow City Council
Financial support to socially excluded citizens
In January 2007 Scotcash, supported by Glasgow City Council (GCC), Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), Scottish Executive (SE), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Communities Scotland (CS), Glasgow Community Planning Partnership (GCPP) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), opened to Glasgow’s citizens offering alternatives to high cost doorstep credit lenders. Scotcash is an independent social business reducing financial exclusion within Glasgow by increasing access to affordable credit through loans, providing basic bank accounts (via RBS), access to discounted household goods as well as access to credit union savings accounts and high quality financial advice. It targets people in poverty and works with them, moving them on the route to financial and social inclusion. For people unable to access mainstream credit and those who are financially excluded, Scotcash offers a direct alternative to doorstep lending, illegal money lending, and other expensive forms of credit whilst providing holistic customer services designed to promote financial inclusion.The project, itself, is innovative. A similar type project has never before been attempted on this scale in Britain. The project has demonstrated:
- The ability to translate research into action in a very short space of time
- Public/private sector partnership working
- Demonstrable financial benefits to the targeted client group
- Holistic customer services based on robust research
- The value of linking the provision of financial support to effective financial advice
- The ability to be financially self-sustaining in the long term and capable of scaling up to include areas out with Glasgow.
With clients primarily consisting of single parents, especially singe mothers and people on low incomes, many have no experience of banks or bank accounts. This service attempts to remedy this problem by providing financial capability advice which allows one to one training on how to operate a bank account and avoid bank charges. The ability for Scotcash to directly open bank accounts is a key factor in the partnerships ongoing success. The Royal Bank of Scotland has provided Scotcash with ‘Trusted Partner Status’ which allows Scotcash staff to open an RBS bank account directly. RBS has trained and empowered the staff to administer the opening of basic bank accounts. Service Level Agreements between the two organisations stipulate that any person who is unbanked and makes contact with Scotcash should have access to a working bank account within three days. This public/private partnership is one of the initiatives unique selling points.