Live discussion: social enterprises and financial services, 18 January 12-1.30pm

Join our experts on Friday 18 January to discuss the alternative solutions social enterprise can provide in the financial sector

It’s hard to imagine a time when the banking sector was more unpopular. Following the 2008 financial crisis, newspapers, politicians and the public alike have been calling for more responsible capitalism and an end to ‘casino banking’.

In an article last August MPs Gareth Thomas and Chris Leslie set out their wish list for greater transparency in the banking sector, including more space for credit unions.

In an earlier article Thomas had called for a network of ‘banks’ owned by their consumers – credit unions and other financial co-operatives and mutuals, or social enterprises and charity banks – to offer alternative finance to those who may be tempted to turn to pay-day lenders.

Meanwhile, the Community Development Finance Association conference in October generated debate over the role of community development finance institutions (CDFIs). Whilst Lib Dem peer Baroness Kramner called on high street banks to ‘step aside’ for CDFIs, business secretary Vince Cable reminded the conference that very few understood what CDFIs actually do and Big Society Capital’s Nick Donoghue reminded us that few CDFis are breaking even.

Following the conference, CDFA director Ben Hughes called for more efforts to scale up CDFIs.

So what role can social enterprise play in financial services? Join us on Friday 18 January to discuss:

• the role of credit unions

• whether CDFIs can go mainstream

• the limits of social enterprise in financial services

Do get in touch if you’d like to be a panellist – email Joe Jervis for more details.

Also, if you’d like to leave a question, please do so in the comments section below, or come back to ask it live – and follow the debate – on Friday 18 January, 12 – 1.30pm GMT.

Remember, to be on the panel and participate you need to register as a member of the Guardian social enterprise network, and log in. Click here to register.

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