About us

Community Finance Solutions (CFS) is an independent research and development unit specialising in financial inclusion and community finance. 

Our mission is to promote access to appropriate and ethical financial services for excluded businesses and households by developing, piloting and researching cost-effective solutions for policy-makers practitioners and funders.  

CFS offers independent research and advisory services to various organisations and agencies, including charities, social landlords and national government. 

Founded in 1999 by Professor Karl Dayson and Dr Bob Paterson, CFS was established to help empower communities to solve local problems relating to land and financial inclusion. Between them they developed solutions for securing community ownership of land and models for the provision of loans to low income households who found themselves excluded from mainstream lending. These solutions have gradually extended over time and now CFS remains at the forefront of pioneering social research. 

Our research focuses on three areas: 

  • Financial inclusion: We have recognised expertise in financial exclusion and have conducted research on the nature and extent of financial exclusion, its determinants and the effectiveness of financial inclusion interventions. We have also provided advice on developing financial inclusion policies and interventions. 
  • Financial education: We have conducted several evaluations of financial education programmes aimed at a variety of groups, including older people, BME groups and women in the criminal justice system. 
  • Community and microfinance: We have over 20 years of experience in applied research in micro and community finance for households and businesses. We developed and sit on the steering group of the European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision.