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Financialization and Sustainable Credit: Lessons from Non-Intermediated Transactions?

Y. Svetiev, Elise Dermineur and U. Kolanisi
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Y. Svetiev: University of Sydney Law School
U. Kolanisi: University of Zululand

Journal of Consumer Policy, 2022, vol. 45, issue 4, No 4, 673-698

Abstract: Abstract Does increasing access to finance promote human flourishing? And if so, are there pathways to sustainable credit and finance in the face of the perceived excesses of financialization? Can we reform or regulate the financial sector to promote sustainable credit and avoid over-indebtedness? These and similar questions have attracted considerable scholarly and public debate in the aftermath of the 2007 global financial crisis, with a growing focus on institutional alternatives to market exchange in finance and beyond. In this article, we study the persistence of non-intermediated credit, whereby lenders and borrowers engage in transactions directly and without financial intermediaries. Peer lending was a mainstay source of credit prior to the emergence of financial intermediaries and our benchmark case study outlines common features of credit relationships before modern banking in Europe. The other two case studies come from jurisdictions where non-intermediated credit persists on a broad scale, despite parties having formal access to modern finance. The aim of our contribution is threefold. First, we identify features of non-intermediated transactions that are consistent with a notion of sustainable credit, in the sense that they are not destabilising for the transacting parties (or the broader community). Secondly, we highlight the normative mechanisms that support non-intermediated credit across different settings to identify the scope conditions and limits for such transactions. Third, we evaluate such credit transactions along a set of normative benchmarks to draw out lessons for contemporary finance and financial regulation. We argue that even if non-intermediated credit cannot provide an alternative to modern finance, such transactions can help financial institutions tailor products to the needs of specific consumers or outsource credit assessment and repayment, while also allowing policymakers and regulators to identify and resolve concrete credit access problems for disadvantaged communities.

Keywords: Consumer credit; Peer-to-peer credit; Over-indebtedness; Transactional trust; Social norms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s10603-022-09529-0

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