Research Unit for Financial Inclusion

Practical, evaluative and action-oriented research

Enabling the financial health, stability and resilience of low and moderate-income communities.

The Research Unit for Financial Inclusion (RUFI) aims to generate knowledge and understanding that will assist Government, policy makers, financial providers, communities and agencies to build the financial health and resilience of individuals and communities in Britain and internationally.

RUFI undertakes independent research into issues central to the development of credit unions, co-operatives and social enterprise, and to the future of low and moderate-income consumer finance. Recognised as a leader in credit union research, the Unit has developed research activities aimed at strengthening credit union capacity and effectiveness. It has wide experience of working collaboratively with the money and debt advice sector.

Our expertise

  • Social and financial exclusion, poverty and over indebtedness
  • The dynamics and operation of low income financial market
  • Credit and low-income consumers
  • Credit union organisation and management (including business development, marketing, product development, entrepreneurship, human resources, accounting and finance)
  • Community development and third sector financial initiatives, co-operatives, social and micro enterprises and business development within low income communities.
  • The policies, practice and operation of the welfare benefit system
  • Financial capability education and money advice
  • Young people and financial matters
  • Anti-poverty and financial inclusion strategies within urban and rural regeneration
  • Community development approaches to financial inclusion
  • Working collaboratively with academic and practitioner partners in the European Union

As well as undertaking research for publication in academic journals, RUFI focuses upon practical, evaluative and action-oriented research aimed at generating meaningful findings for organisations, agencies and non-technical readers. The overall aim of the Unit is to further practical knowledge and understanding that will assist in ensuring the financial health, stability and resilience of low and moderate income communities and individuals.

Current projects

Financial Literacy for Social Inclusion (FINCARE) is an EU-funded, Erasmus+ project which focuses on credit union governance and financial education. Find out more about FINCARE.


RUFI has worked on a number of projects with, and is a member of the European Financial Inclusion Network. We also work closely with the National Romanian Credit Union Association (UNCARRS) with an aim to share knowledge and experience on how individuals and small enterprises can access affordable credit through British and Romanian credit unions.

RUFI promotes research seminars, conferences and symposia for the benefit of academics, policy makers and practitioners.

Continuing professional development course

RUFI offers an opportunity to deepen your theoretical and practical understanding of financial health, education and inclusion.



Jones P.A., 2004. Growing Credit Unions in the West Midlands Journal of Co-operative Studies Vol 37: 1 (N0 110) April

Jones P.A., 2002. Modernising Credit Unions, Guatemala Co-operative Strengthening Project 1987-1994, New Economics Foundation and ABCUL ISBN 0-9506281-8-2

Jones P.A., 2001. “ The Growth Of Credit Unions And Credit Co-operatives – Is The Past Still Present?chapter in Mayo E and Guene C. Eds.Banking and Social Cohesion. Alternative Responses to a Global Market”, Jon Carpenter Publishing, Oxford ISBN 1-897766-69-6

Jones P.A., 2000. Le développement des Credit Unions et des coopératives de crédit – Le passé est-il toujours présent? Chapter in Mayo E and  Guene C. Eds. Banques et Cohésion Sociale – Réponses à un Marché Globalisé Editions Charles Léopold Mayer, Paris

For more papers see the RUFI staff profiles


Jones P.A., 2013. Strategies for Growth: A research study into the progress and development of credit unions in the North East of England and Cumbria. Northern Rock Foundation/LJMU

Jones P.A., 2013. Towards Financial Inclusion. The expansion of credit union financial services for low-income households in Northern Ireland. Housing Rights/LJMU

Jones P.A. and Ellison A., 2011. Community Finance for London, Scaling up the credit union and social finance sectors. A report for Santander. Policis and LJMU

Jones P.A., 2010. Stabilising Credit Unions. ABCUL and LJMU, Liverpool

Jones P.A. and Egan K., 2009. The strategic development of credit unions on Merseyside. A market research and feasibility study into new business opportunities and products for Merseyside based credit unions. ABCUL, The Riverside Group and LJMU.

Scott-Cato M., Bickle R., Bird A., Myers J., and Jones P.A., 2009. Realising the Potential: a review of the credit union movement in Wales, Welsh Assembly Government.
Executive summary

Jones P.A., 2008. Linking credit unions and money advice. Learning lessons from the Blackfriars Advice Centre, Southwark Credit Union and Twinpier Debt Counselling Service Money Advice Project. Friends Provident Foundation and LJMU, Liverpool
Executive summary

Jones P.A., 2008. The Credit Union Current Account. ABCUL and LJMU, Liverpool

Jones P.A., 2008. Borrowing your way out of debt. Northern Rock Foundation and LJMU, Liverpool

Jones P.A., 2008. Breaking through to the future - the strategic development of credit unions in Britain, 1998 – 2008. December. LJMU/The Co-operative Bank.

Jones P.A. and Decker S., 2007. The Development of Southwark Credit Union 1982 – 2007.

Jones P.A. and Goggins N., 2007. Credit Union and CDFI Training and Development Needs Analysis. A research report into the training and development needs of credit unions and community development finance institutions. Summary Version. DWP Newcastle

Jones. P.A., 2005. Creating wealth in the West Midland though sustainable credit unions. An Action Research Report. ABCUL February 2005
Executive summary

Jones P.A., 2005. Rural Credit Unions in the West Midlands. The Countryside Agency/ABCUL

Jones P.A.,2003 Building sustainable communities – social housing and credit unions in the West Midlands ABCUL West Midlands Publication. November.

Jones P.A., 2003. Credit Unions and Loan Guarantee Schemes. Barclays, London.

Jones P.A., 2002. Modernising Credit Unions, Guatemala Co-operative Strengthening Project 1987-1994, New Economics Foundation and ABCUL 2002

Jones P.A., 2001. From Small Acorns to Big Oaks – a study into the development of credit unions in rural England. The Countryside Agency and ABCUL ISBN 0-9506281-7-4

Harvey A., Jones P.A., Donovan M. and Bolan G. 1999. Sustainable Credit Unions, Guidance Notes for Local Authorities”, Local Government Association

Jones P.A., 1999. Towards Sustainable Credit Union Development”, Report of a national research project undertaken by Liverpool JMU, the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd, the English Community Enterprise Partnership and the Co-operative Bank and supported by the Local Government Association and the Local Government Management Board. ABCUL, March 1999 ISBN 0-9506281-6-6
Executive summary

Contact us

RUFI undertakes research throughout the UK and internationally. Please contact RUFI for further information and details.

Paul A Jones

As well as being the lead for the RUFI, Paul is also the editor of the Journal of Co-operative Studies.

You can get in touch with Paul at:

Research Unit for Financial Inclusion
Liverpool John Moores University
79 Tithebarn Street, Liverpool, L2 2ER

Call: +44(0) 151 231 4064