The York University Community Finance Project (YUCFP) is a community-based research project that seeks to increase the financial capacity and well-being of financially excluded Canadians, that is, Canadians who do not use the services of mainstream bank or credit unions but rather rely on alternative financial service providers, such as payday lenders and the like, for their everyday financial needs.
We know that Canadians may be financially excluded due to (1) having either no credit rating or a bad credit rating, or (2) facing significant obstacles to using mainstream banking services. Simultaneously, there is a notable increase in the use of payday loans to bridge short term gaps in income at effective annual rates of interest substantially higher than rates charged by mainstream credit providers. Further, while there is increased community and local government interest in establishing community-based microcredit funds as a means for promoting community investment and economic development, there is a lack of understanding as to how these programs work or how best to adapt various options to best serve local community needs. And finally, there is a growing awareness of the pressing need to promote entry level financial literacy skills.
Foregrounding social justice, we research ways to ensure a level playing field for all Canadian consumers of basic financial services. We strive to uncover and develop best practices around "Community Based Finance for Community Capacity Building."
Click here for access to the project webpage and more information about the YUCFP.