Alternative legal and affordable savings and credit options offer those excluded from mainstream financial institutions the possibility of accumulating assets for the betterment of themselves and their families.

This has long been acknowledged with the existence of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAS) in developing countries and the expansion of the more formal Grameen bank worldwide.

Alternatives to mainstream savings and credit can be as informal as a family groups saving together with a purpose in mind, to a more legally binding micro finance agency lending to a small business.

Our research Creditable Alternatives 2004, examined the possibility of such schemes being developed in Ireland. Our work in Community Education has given us the opportunity to discuss possibilities with the Traveller community, and some small scale local informal savings schemes have resulted. We are proud of our involvement in the Society of St. Vincent De Paul Caravan Loan Scheme, the Prison Savings Scheme, the loan guarantee schemes, and the HSE pilot Trailer Rental Scheme, and plan to continue our work in this area.

Published: 01 July 2010