Anyone who knows me, I am sure understands that I am a firm believer in a ‘hand up’, rather than a ‘hand out’. My involvement with my local voluntary community library, documenting my (relatively) small provincial town’s night shelter probably make that obvious. If someone can put on my gravestone, ‘This chap made the world a little better than when he came into it’, I would be quite pleased. Obviously some muppet could cremate me, sh*t happens.
Last month I got involved with a funding project to assist a credit union and local signposting organisations to create something to help the growing number of people out of financial security. It was in the central west area of our capital city, London. A place I hated in my 20’s & 30’s and somewhere I have come around to in a big way in my 40’s & 50’s for all sorts of reasons.
London is certainly a city of extremes, we have the very rich and the very poor rubbing shoulders.
The project was to explore funding to improve Credit Union systems, with a twitter chum of mine, the brilliant Lizzie Spring @ESpringW11, who single handledly brings me down to earth, on a regular basis, as to what we are really looking to achieve for residents in socialhousing. I need more Lizzie Springs in my twitter Stream, believe you me.
Anyway, a lot of what I looked into was around self-service and what we might technically call #channelshift. Blimey, it is 2017, don’t we all do our stuff on the web? I think we do actually. Credit Unions need an easy way for people to open saver as well as loan accounts.
The takeaway for me was that where banks lead, we in the other strands of society, need to catch up. If credit unions are not attracting customers who can sign up instantly, some Building Society will. If lenders cannot access affordable funding easily, they will end up at the Wonga’s, loan sharks and Brighthouses, which are ultra-easy to engage with, but not the best with expected outcomes, of thousands of percent interest. Where the homeless or needy have access to a Smartphone, the usual conduit to the web, there surely should be a better way.
In UK #socialhousing we cannot judge ourselves by what suppliers provide for us as ‘products’. These are pretty comprehensively poor, except for a few notable exceptions. I was surprised to find credit union software somewhat ahead in places of socialhousing offerings. How has our sector fallen that far behind? Its pitiful.
There’s no excuse for supposedly key software suppliers offering half built or bog standard closed offerings. Because at the end of the day, our residents and customers, won’t use them. So instead of channel shift for pence per transaction, we risk wasting money on expensive white elephants. At the end of the day we could have just employed two more staff in the service centre.
Related Post: What can Social Housing learn from Donald Trump?
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