The London Borough of Lambeth

Autumn 2014

The challenge

Payday loans were playing an increasingly big role in the lives of people in Lambeth – especially those who were young or vulnerable. The council wanted to address the problem, and asked us to try and understand some of the root causes. We set out to understand particular pathways and characteristics which led into cycles of debt.

How we approached it

Working with an associate who was a financial inclusion expert, we carried out a snapshot literary review. We then did a quantitative survey in Streatham, an area where lenders were relatively common. We focused on those who had used or considered using payday loans, using a face-to-face approach to generate trust on what was obviously a fairly sensitive topic. The survey looked at motivations, patterns and triggers, and was followed up with a small number of depth interviews.

What happened

The findings informed Lambeth’s efforts to develop campaigns to tackle the issue of payday loans and how young people in the borough managed their personal finances.