...Community based finance for community capacity building...

Welcome.  The York University Community Finance Project is an outreach project that seeks to increase the capacity of local community groups in inner-city, at-risk communities and government policy makers in Canada to better understand the opportunities and challenges inherent in the provision of "fringe" financial services serving the financially excluded.    It is a project that strives to uncover and develop best practices around "Community Based Finance for Community Capacity Building."

What is Community MicroFinance?

There are increasing numbers of Canadians who are financially excluded by virtue of having either no credit rating or a bad credit rating (for reasons not necessarily of their own making), by onerous restrictions on their use of mainstream banking services, or simply because their financial literacy skills are too limited to permit informed interaction. 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.

Research Questions

What does existing research tell us?  How can we render this information accessible to the people who could most benefit from knowing it? What are the gaps in our understanding of how best to promote financial inclusion? Are there any gaps that we can begin to fill? These and other such questions motivate our research.

The multi-faceted project encompasses three substantive areas of research (microcredit, payday lending and promotion of financial capability through opportunities to improve financial literacy), involves a significant collaboration with community partners, engages a variety of research methods and approaches (theoretical, abstract, quantitative, qualitative, praxis, and survey) and teaching methods (experiential, independent study) with graduate and undergraduate students with a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary interests.

Who are we?

For more information

We thank you for visiting our web site. We invite you to contact Professor Brenda Spotton Visano (spotton@yorku.ca) for additional information about the research, upcoming opportunities to participate, related community activities of interest or for opportunities to collaborate with you and your project or organization.