Markets for the many: how civic finance can open up markets and widen access

Document type
Llewellyn, David T; Wildman, Adam
Date of publication
1 February 2014
Green paper
Community Development and Regeneration
Social welfare
Material type

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This green paper argues that financial reform should be geared towards ensuring that the wider needs of society are met by the financial services sector. This ‘civic approach’ to financial reform looks beyond simple financial stability, and assesses the overall ability of the sector to serve customers, help communities and support small businesses. In short, it asks the financial sector to adopt its civic duty. The financial sector is one of society’s great economic and social enablers, and has the capacity to be a truly transformative force in society. Unfortunately, the UK current reform agenda, with its almost exclusive emphasis on simple financial stability, fails to recognise this.

Only a financial sector with a significant number of players in each service area and a diverse mix of ownership models can truly be considered a responsible, healthy, and responsive sector capable of meeting the UK’s economic and social demands. The Government can achieve this by promoting and encouraging civic finance institutions; those institutions which already assume their civic role within society. It is argued that three such institutions – building societies, mutual societies and community finance institutions – should play a much greater role in financial services. These institutions were chosen for their ability to make, due to their growth prospects and inclusive models, the financial sector inherently more secure, capable and ethical.

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