Banking on exclusion: Data disclosure and geographies of UK personal lending markets

Nick Henry, Jane Pollard, Paul Sissons, Jennifer Ferreira, Mike Coombes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2013, the UK Government announced that seven of the nation’s largest banks had agreed to publish their lending data at the local level across Great Britain. The release of such area based lending data has been welcomed by advocacy groups and policy makers keen to better understand and remedy geographies of financial exclusion. This paper makes three contributions to debates about financial exclusion. First, it provides the first exploratory spatial analysis of the personal lending data made available; it scrutinises the parameters and robustness of the dataset and evaluates the extent to which the data increase transparency in UK personal lending markets. Second, it uses the data to provide a geographical overview of patterns of personal lending across Great Britain. Third, it uses this analysis to revisit the analytical and political limitations of ‘open data’ in addressing the relationship between access to finance and economic marginalisation. Although a binary policy imaginary of ‘inclusion-exclusion’ has historically driven advocacy for data disclosure, recent literatures on financial exclusion generate the need for more complex and variegated understandings of economic marginalisation. The paper questions the relationship between transparency and data disclosure, the policy push for financial inclusion, and patterns of indebtedness and economic marginalisation in a world where ‘fringe finance’ has become mainstream. Drawing on these literatures, this analysis suggests that data disclosure, and the transparency it affords, is a necessary but not sufficient tool in understanding the distributional implications of variegated access to credit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2046-2064
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number9
Early online date12 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Banking on exclusion: Data disclosure and geographies of UK personal lending markets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this