When Salad Money was founded in 2017, we had a clear mission; to offer affordable credit to those who have a poor credit score or low income. One of the most important parts of this was assessing our social impact and ensuring we help those who need affordable lending the most, such as those who work in the NHS. Here are some of the ways we assess and measure our social impact, and how that benefits our customers.
Why is it important to have a positive social impact?
In recent years, there have been many stories in the news about irresponsible lending, for example, payday loan companies who have gone bust. The financial industry has a poor reputation when it comes to consumers who are on a low income, or who can’t access affordable lending because of a poor credit score.
That’s why when Salad Money launched, we were concerned about our social impact and wanted to ensure we created an ethical company that offered a positive experience.
Providing a fair and equal service is important to us, so we focused on providing affordable credit and fair loans guidance to NHS workers. Recent events such as COVID-19 have shown how important these people are to society, yet they can often be at a financial disadvantage due to issues such as low pay.
Having an integrated social impact plan says a lot about a company, and whether they are concerned purely with profit, or whether they want to make a positive impact on the world. Scroll down our homepage to see how we’re measuring the social impact Salad money has through the UN’s social indicators.
How can you measure social impact?
It can be difficult to measure social impact. It’s not just about the individual, but the effect that your business has on the entire community. You need to be able to analyse and monitor the consequences your actions have, whether they’re positive or negative, and plan accordingly.
At Salad Money, we put together a social and economic impact statement, showing how we aim to make a positive impact. This includes:
Improving access to affordable credit for those on lower salaries (£12k to £25k) and ensuring we lend responsibly
Working in partnerships with relevant companies such as the Health Service Discounts
Providing equal access to credit based on affordability, even for those with a low credit score, ensuring people aren’t discriminated against on the basis of race, sex or other factors
Working with people in ‘credit deserts’ – areas where there is a high percentage of people who’d struggle to access affordable lending. These areas are susceptible to predatory lenders such as pawnbrokers or rent to buy companies
All these missions are designed to have a positive social impact overall. While we might work with individuals, you can see the potential positives our actions could have on the community.
This kind of lending could mean key workers are less stressed about money and able to focus on their jobs. It could help cut the amount of predatory lending overall, leading to the demise of unethical lenders, as we’ve seen with the likes of Wonga in recent years. Overall, these small changes, while hard to measure, will hopefully help create a fairer and more equal society.
What happens if businesses don't consider social impact?
Unfortunately, too many companies launch without considering their social impact. There are many ways that companies can have a negative impact on the world, including:
Environmental – if businesses don’t consider their impact on the environment, they can cause untold issues which can take generations to fix
Human rights – companies who don’t have policies for human rights and labour relations may find that they become exploitative and damage communities
Financial – predatory and irresponsible lending or companies who encourage poor financial control can cause communities to sink deeper into poverty and can even damage the economy overall
Negative social impacts can be large or small. They can cause issues for local people, or they can have a ripple effect and cause issues across the world. But it’s clear that businesses who don’t consider their social impact don’t always realise the level of damage they can potentially do, which is why it’s something all companies need to think about.
What we do at Salad Money
At Salad Money, we wanted to aim for a positive social impact, which was why we spent time coming up with a social impact policy and ensuring it was as fair as possible.
Salad Money uses Open Banking Technology, which means we don’t use credit scoring for our lending and instead, focus on affordability. Being able to judge applications in this way means that we can offer affordable lending to people who’ve often been unable to access credit. This way they can avoid turning to unscrupulous payday loans, pawnbrokers or even loan sharks.
This has a positive social impact because it helps key workers on a low income to improve their financial position and their lives. Overall, this can be good for communities, especially in areas where there is a lot of poverty and places that are considered credit deserts.
Salad Money also works closely with NHS trusts and public sector organisations to help their employees directly. Improving the lives of key workers can help them focus on their job and improve productivity, which is something entire communities can benefit from. Our social impact can therefore potentially go far beyond the financial.
We were also finalists in the Nesta Affordable Credit Challenge, backed by HM Treasury. This challenge was aimed at fintech companies to encourage them to find new ways to help community lenders provide affordable credit to their community. Pioneering new technology could potentially have a great social impact in the long term, changing attitudes to lending and helping people improve their financial situation.
For responsible loans for key workers, contact Salad Money today. As a business who focusses on social impact, we are a trustworthy, open lender, and we can often help those who might otherwise struggle to obtain affordable credit. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more about using our services or partnering with us.