£2m social investment will help more NHS and public sector workers access fair and affordable credit

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More NHS and public sector workers who need and can afford to borrow can avoid high-cost lenders thanks to a £2m social investment.

Salad Money has agreed a new £2m facility with not-for-profit financial inclusion organisation Fair4All Finance. The deal will help meet increasing demand from NHS and public sector workers who might otherwise turn to unaffordable payday loans or even loan sharks.

As a purpose-driven fintech, Salad offers small-sum loans to key workers in the public sector and NHS. We use Open Banking to assess affordability, so applicants aren't penalised or unfairly excluded for having an impaired credit score. Since launching in 2018 we've built a trusted reputation with partner NHS Trusts and among public sector and NHS workers, and our business, a social enterprise, was named winner of 2022’s “Fintech for Good” award.

Salad has pioneered the use of a “benefits calculator,” embedding this into our application process so everyone who applies for a loan can see whether they are entitled to benefits they are not claiming, whether or not they go on to borrow. To date we have already helped 31,959 households identify more than £159 million in benefits they are rightfully due every year to top up their incomes.

Many people who apply for credit are missing out on £400 to £500 per month in benefits, with almost seven out of ten NHS and public sector workers who apply to Salad not claiming the full amount they could. Many applicants are unaware of the benefits they are entitled to, or assume they are not eligible. The staggering sum works out at £416 per person every month and even more for households with children.

Salad also provides free financial education to all applicants and is rated ‘excellent’ by 98% of reviewers in more than 2,500 Trustpilot reviews. We are a member of Responsible Finance, which represents the UK’s community finance sector. The Financial Conduct Authority, MPs from the UK's three main political parties, the Centre for Social Justice and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have all called for an urgent expansion in community lenders such as Salad, so people excluded from mainstream credit have better and fairer options available.

Fair4All Finance previously made a £5m investment into Salad in 2021 through their Affordable Credit Scale Up Programme, designed to increase the supply of fair and affordable credit for people in financially vulnerable circumstances.

Salad Money will use the new finance facility to meet expanding demand and leverage facilities with senior debt providers, which will ultimately lead to a reduction in the cost of our credit products.

Tim Rooney, CEO of Salad Money, said:

“Millions of people can’t access fair or affordable credit if they need it as they don’t have perfect credit scores. Open Banking means we can be fairer and more efficient than lenders relying on credit scoring. We’re proud to help NHS and public sector workers avoid more expensive credit, and often boost their household budgets by finding benefits they were missing.

"We value our relationship with Fair4All Finance and are delighted to announce this new facility which will help us to help thousands more hard-working NHS and public sector employees.”

Sacha Romanovitch OBE, CEO of Fair4All Finance said: 

“Increasing access to affordable credit is an important tool in the fight against financial exclusion. In the time we’ve worked with Salad they’ve been resolute in their mission to support lower paid public sector workers and have quickly grown their loan book. We look forward to our investment further supporting Salad to help more customers in vulnerable circumstances. 

"We’ve now committed over 85% of the funds from our Affordable Credit Scale Up Programme. With at least 17.5m UK adults in financially vulnerable circumstances we know our funding alone isn’t enough though. 

"Salad’s lending model proves that it’s possible to serve people in financially vulnerable circumstances well with a fair credit option. We encourage other funders and lenders to join us in providing funding and lending to scale up the provision of affordable credit and help fill a growing gap.” 

Theodora Hadjimichael, CEO of Responsible Finance, said:

“Credit is not the answer to the cost of living crisis or low pay, which are issues for politicians and employers to address. But credit is a fundamental part of how we live our lives in the UK today, used by more than 9 out of 10 people. Everyone should be able to get finance on fair terms if they need it. This is why we need to grow community lenders, like Salad, which are dedicated to improving people’s lives and design their products to help their customers succeed.”

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