Fair Finance to buy domestic appliances

Fair for You

A 2013 DEMOS report stated that more than a third of households in the UK had to rely on credit when hit by a one-off or unexpected expenditure such as a broken fridge or washing machine. It is estimated that a similar number are officially ‘low-paid’, existing on a total household income of less than £20k

Many of these are excluded from mainstream finance and forced instead to rely on the high-cost credit sector, itself worth in the UK an estimated £6bn.
The options here for customers include so-called payday, or doorstep, lenders, offering small amounts on very high interest rates, sometimes requiring family members as guarantors, but always with a heavy hand in the case of default. 
There is even one growing lender who takes repayment through a meter attached to the customer’s TV – no money going in, no TV!
One of the sectors having the biggest impact is the rapidly growing Rent to Own (RTO) sector, or weekly payment stores, often found on the high street in poorer parts of town. There are considered many issues with this sector. These are; lack of transparency, high fees, overcharging, compulsory insurances, repossessions, incentivised sales staff - and few alternatives.
Because they offer credit the customer could not access elsewhere, prices are top-loaded. A basic Hotpoint fridge is currently on offer* through one RTO provider with a list price of £457, totalling £786 after three years’ repayment; exactly the same model is available via John Lewis for £168, including a two year guarantee.
Fair For You (FFY) offers a new ethical and affordable alternative for those essential household goods. Quality items are bought direct from the retailer via their website at regular high street prices, with a loan provided by, and repayable to, FFY. 
In contrast with other lenders, the customer chooses from terms that are flexible and affordable, and decisions on applications are made immediately - based not simply on credit scores but on financial behaviour and propensity to repay. These customers could be called ‘managing mothers’, bringing up young children and often hampered by irregular work patters, zero-hours contracts, and lack of savings to fall back on; yet managing to keep out of serious debt, preferring to live on toast every day than miss a loan payment, while keeping their families healthy and happy.
The team behind FFY has vast experience in delivering affordable credit at community level, and the launch of the charity follows a year’s consumer research with focus groups across the country. The customer really is at the centre of everything at FFY, and the lending model and range of products have been developed to meet genuine needs.
Essentially, FFY believes that within five years it can see each customer saving £1,000 per item they buy compared with high cost credit; if it manages to work with just 5% of the market currently served by the leading RTO company, this will see 260,000 families on the path towards better financial stability.

*Details checked 17 October 2015

In Other News

Recognition for helping othersPaul Barry-Walsh wins inaugural University College London/Business Reporter award THIS YEAR’S winner of the UCL/Business Reporter Entrepreneur of the Year award was Paul Barry-Walsh, for his work at the Fredericks Foundation. The aim of the award was to honour someone who has been successful in setting up their own business and then used their skillsto promote enterprise and provide opportunities for others – not just by handing over big cheques, but by making the most of their experience. Barry-Walsh set up the Fredericks Foundation in 2001 to help people set up new businesses or maintain or expand existing ones through providing them with loans. It has helped around 1,463 business start-ups and is open to anyone who has a viable business proposition but cannot obtain mainstream finance. Speaking after receiving hisaward, Barry-Walsh said: “I am very grateful. It has been an enormous privilege to help those people who have set up some wonderful businesses.“We only support people who have no chance to get funding from traditional sources like the banks. There are three things I really want to do. I want to support small business, because this is where all the diamonds are.“There are 11 times more patents from companies [with ] under 100 [employees] than big ones. In big companies you are far more busy having meetingsthan actually doing anything. Everyone matters in small companies – you all have a sense of a mission. When I started my first company it was wonderful – it was so free we could do what we wanted. “Lastly, I wanted to help those who did not have access to cash – everyone deserves a second chance. I do not believe in handouts, but I do believe in helping peopl up and supporting them.That is what we try to do.” Barry-Walsh believes it is good for the human spirit to be selfemployed, and one of the reasons why he started Fredericks was to help encourage that. “Even if people are earning no more money, they are at least in control of their own life,” he said. Barry-Walsh’s first business, Safetynet, was initially unable to raise the required funds of £300,000, forcing him to give away some of the equity in the business. He later sold the company to Guardian IT for £170million – but his philosophy is that business should be about far more than just making cash. “A lot of people go in there and say, I am going to get rich quick – I say, it is probably not going to happen like that,” he said. “You should be doing it because you love it, and want to make the world a better place. That is a message that has got lost. Bill Gates’s ambition was to put a PC on everyone’s desk, not to become the richest man in the world. “I do not believe in the Chicago school of thought, which says profit at all costs and that is your only responsibility. That is highly irresponsible. That contributes to the view of the fracture between business and society. That is pretty dangerous.” Barry-Walsh believes enterprise is important to society, and he thinks entrepreneurs should use their skills, black books and money to solve problems the state finds difficult. He believes every business should have a social purpose. “It is important for everyone to give back – business is good for society,” he said. “I feel quite passionate about that and sit on the Beacon Board to try to promote philanthropy. “It is very important that we build social purpose into the fabric of our business community, rather than have social corporate responsibility, which is the last thing on the agenda. It has to be within the organisation at its soul. It should start from the very beginning.” Barry-Walsh’s approach to running a business resembles the old-fashioned way of looking after the customer’s interests instead of your own. “What I always tell people is to treat employees and customers with respect,” he says. “Being fair is a really important thing – fair to your customers, fair to your employees, fai r to your shareholders. “And if you are open and transparent and fair, it is not a guarantee for success, but it is a good foundation for success. A lot of businesses have lost that.” The same philosophy is evident at Fredericks, where Barry-Walsh provides successful applicants with mentoring, practical business advice, networking and links within the local community to help support and grow new and expanding business. Expert advice is certainly something he regards as crucial to success. “When Apple was trying to start they managed to get some of the best brains from MIT to answer questions, completely for free.” he pointed out. “Most people are happy trying to help others. You can get tremendous support simply by asking for it.” Business Reporter would also like to thank everyone involved in organising the awards, as well as the other nominees on the shortlist: Jim Duffy, Kelly Hoppen, Luke Johnson, Jamie Oliver, Emma Sinclair and John Timpson
How Paul is making success breed success. 
Awards Dinner at Hampton Court
Fredericks Foundation first awards dinner         
Business Awards Dinner 6th October
Recognising exceptional entrepreneurship
CIPD Support for Corporate Volunteers
‘From Big Society to the big organisation: the role of organisations in supporting employee volunteering’.  
2014 a record year
UK Entrepreneurs start record number of businesses
Press Release
Supporting Sustainable Growth in the Creative Economy
A New Way to Get Credit
Small loans available for any purpose.
Accounts for year ended 31st March 2014
Executive Report and Accounts
HMRC Help & Guidance
Help & Guidance is available from HMRC for people starting out in self employment
The Funding Network pitches up for Fredericks in Surrey
Philanthropists support Fredericks work in Surrey
Connecting Social Enterprise
Expert support & business opportunities
The Peoples Supermarket - Update by Sue Wheat, freelance journalist
Kate Bull is aptly named. She is, in the nicest possible way – bullish: determined, opinionated and single-minded.
Boris Johnson Supports Fredericks Foundation London Hub
Boris Johnson, whilst Mayor of London, welcomed the  launch of our London Hub to support capitals SME's
Why everyone should be supporting CDFIs
Bank of England and Treasury plans to inject £80bn into bank lending to get money moving to businesses in need of finance
Mentoring and business support is key
A look at how we are succeeding and why our clients think we're different.
CNBC European Business Leader Awards, Philanthropist of the Year 2009
Paul Barry-Walsh, Chairman of Fredericks Foundation was awarded the Philanthropist of the Year Award for 2009
Paul Barry-Walsh was awarded the Beacon Prize for Creative Giving.
Cup Cakes down on the farm
Budding entrepreneurs James & Kellie Wymer are recent recipients of a loan from Fredericks Foundation.