Evidence type: Evaluation i
Information about the programme design and rationale
Evidence about Financial Capability outcomes for programme participants
Evidence that the Financial Capability outcomes were caused by the programme
Evidence about programme implementation, feasibility, and piloting
Evidence about relative costs and benefits of the programme
In the UK, half of adults are considered financially vulnerable, with little savings to rely on if they experience a financial shock such as redundancy, illness, or relationship breakdown. Credit unions support financial wellbeing through providing responsible products such as promoting regular saving, access to affordable loans, and schemes such as payroll deduction.
This report is based on an existing evaluation which tested the effectiveness of practical education materials designed to improve financial resilience. The report focuses on the subset of findings from this evaluation that relate specifically to participants who were credit union members. It presents these findings, together with recommendations and action points, in a format designed to help credit unions use financial education and resources to increase the financial capability of their members. In particular, it promotes the use of an app, which was developed as a result of the existing evaluation.
Other participants in the original study included those from other community groups and housing associations.
The education materials used in the project were provided in the form of an online short course, which could also be printed in hard copy. The materials focused on budgeting and spending decisions and on nudging people to change their behaviour. Participants were encouraged to save by setting achievable goals; for example, stopping having weekly takeaways and instead saving the money towards a holiday. Education materials were delivered to different groups of ‘financially squeezed’ individuals, on low-to-moderate incomes, through several channels:
Those who participated in the project reported improvements to their individual financial capabilities and, in some cases, shared their learning to help family and friends.
Individuals made small but important changes to their spending behaviour, such as switching expensive coffee shop drinks for coffee brought from home or changing utility suppliers. These kinds of shifts in behaviour helped some people to regain control of their spending, put a little money away each month, or to focus on their longer-term financial goals.
Other key findings included the following:
The report also contains a long list of recommendations and action points to guide credit unions in delivering financial education.
Dr. Lindsey Appleyard, Professor Sally Dibb, Dr. Hussan Aslam
The Centre for Business in Society, Coventry University