Her is a guest blog on the PSE website discussing the role/potential limitations of alternative financial institutions during the economic crisis and responding to increasing levels of poverty: here
For some the association of credit unions with tackling financial exclusion has been seen as a source of growth while others argue that it threatens their sustainability. This paper argues for an approach in which the future credit union development in the UK is confined neither to tackling financial exclusion nor to an effort to attract a diversified membership. Rather, it proposes an approach based on progressive universalism in which unions offer services open to all while focusing additional help on those sidelined by mainstream financial services. This is illustrated with examples from Wales to show how credit unions can overcome the tension between tackling financial exclusion and achieving sustainability.
Article accessible from here (subscription required)
Exploring the potential of local intiatives to develop effective work with offenders and other socially excluded groups, the chapter by Drakeford and Gregory explore the potential of asset-based polices (such as the Child Trust Fund), credit union and time banks.
Details of the book can be found here