Skip to main content

Community Finance Solutions

Community Finance Solutions (CFS) is an award winning independent research unit specialising in financial and social inclusion, and community asset ownership. Located within the University of Salford, CFS offers independent research and advisory services to social landlords, local authorities, national government, charities and other organisations and agencies. 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 also 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.

  • Microfinance: CFS is a leading centre for research, policy and innovation in microfinance in the industrialised world, including governance, financial sustainability and social impact. The Unit has set up a number of microcredit providers in the UK, has conducted research for government departments and has advised EU institutions on microfinance policy.
  • Fintech: Over the past few years, CFS has been building expertise in the emerging area of Financial technology (Fintech), focusing on the impact of Fintech on access to finance and the opportunities and risks for microcredit providers arising from Fintech. CFS has written about UK crowdfunding and P2P lending and conducted research on the impact of the expansion of these forms of finance on microfinance providers.
  • Financial inclusion: CFS has extensive expertise and experience in financial inclusion, including factors affecting financial exclusion and the effectiveness of interventions to promote financial inclusion. CFS researchers have conducted research on the extent and nature of financial exclusion across cities and communities across the UK, and have advised local government and housing associations on ways of promoting financial inclusion.
  • Community Land Trusts: The pioneering research by CFS and associates contributed to the establishment and growth of the CLT sector in England and Wales. CFS contributed to the development of a legal definition of UK CLTs, set up and piloted mechanisms for delivering technical assistance to CLTs, and developed a social impact tool for the sector held by the National CLT Network (the trade body for CLTs in England and Wales).

  • The European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision: CFS researchers developed the European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision for the European Commission in 2011. Complying with this Code is a precondition to access European funding for microfinance under the EaSI framework ( CFS also developed the evaluation framework for assessing compliance and advises the European Commission on the implementation and governance of the Code.
  • Evaluation of the European Microfinance Network: Since 2011, CFS has conducted an annual evaluation of the European Microfinance Network, the trade body of the microfinance sector in the EU. As part of this evaluation, CFS researchers have advised the Network on governance, management and financial sustainability.
  • Evaluation of Community Money Mentors programme: CFS has been commissioned by Toynbee Hall to evaluate its community money mentors programme. This financial education programme involves training volunteers to disseminate good money management practices in their local communities ( . CFS analyses the impact the programme on financial inclusion and advises Toynbee Hall on evaluation procedures.

Microfinance/community finance, including economic and social impact, governance, risk management and sustainability

Financial inclusion

Fintech, including crowdfunding, digital financial services and Big Data

Culture and consumption of money, banking and financial services

Cultural, social and economic urban renewal and regeneration

History of banking

Study of social capital and networks, including embeddedness and business lending

Restructuring of banking post-1970s


Utopias and dystopias

Professor Karl Dayson, Executive Director

Dr Pål Vik, Research Fellow

Dr Jelena Dzakula, Research Assistant

Dr Pål Vik
T: +44 (0)161 295 2841