Nurturing business. Growing ideas.


Investing ethical micro-loans to grow small, strong businesses

Trust Leeds is in the pilot stage of its micro-finance programme, and we’re currently submitting our application for registration and approval by the Financial Conduct Authority to hold a consumer credit licence.

Responsible Finance Code of Practice

Responsible finance providers are professional trusted organisations that act responsibly and treat customers fairly.

All members are required to sign up to the Responsible Finance Code of Practice. It sets out the shared standards that all responsible finance providers must comply with.

The ten standards that members must adhere to are:

  1. Clarity in respect of loan interest rates, repayment, default and cancellation arrangements
  2. Customer awareness that the responsible finance provider adheres to these ten standards within the Code of Practice, in a customer-facing document published on their website
  3. Legal compliance – the responsible finance provider will comply with all relevant laws, regulations and the requirements of its regulators, including the timely submission of accounts and returns
  4. Clear financial processes – the responsible finance provider will adhere to financial approval and decision making processes, operate a well-managed portfolio, and its Board will monitor the finances of the organisation
  5. Accountability by the Board – the Board will always act in the best interests of the responsible finance provider, representing its shareholders and/or members, and reporting back to them
  6. Management of Risk – the Board will establish or ratify policies and decisions on all matters that might create significant risk to the responsible finance provider, financial or otherwise, and maintain a risk register
  7. Internal controls – the responsible finance provider will maintain a set of procedures designed to protect against financial mismanagement and fraud
  8. Conflicts of Interest: A responsible finance provider will manage any conflicts of interest arising out of its governance or business activities
  9. Complaints: A responsible finance provider will deal honestly and efficiently with all complaints and if necessary will take part in conciliation or go to arbitration
  10. Social Performance: A responsible finance provider will take steps to measure and report on its social performance

Members are required to provide evidence that they adhere to the Ten Standards of the Code of Practice, and they must follow best practice contained in the overall Code in proportionality to their organisation size

Do you have an idea for a small business?

If you don’t have the money to get you going, or growing, Trust Leeds might be able to help with a small loan.

Trust Leeds is a member of trade association ‘Responsible Finance’ which represents Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFI’s) like us.  The Board of Trust Leeds has signed up to the Responsible Finance Code of Practice, as outlined below.

Helps people to enterprise their way out of poverty. 

One of the ways we do this is by making small loans to people. A poor credit rating doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t lend to you.

However, we are an ethical lender and will only make you a loan if we can see that we’re not adding to your problems or debts, that your business idea is good, and that you will pay the loan back.

Loan Amount

£500 – £1,000

• Repayment period: 12 to 36 months
• Interest rate: 0% to 25.8% APR
• Purpose: business costs only (for example stock, website, equipment, marketing, pre-accreditation or registration fees, insurance, cost of sales)

*During Trust Leeds’ pilot period, it is registered and approved by the Financial Conduct Authority. Loans are interest free.

Reasons to borrow from Trust Leeds


We aim to be fair flexible and fast in our diligent, responsible lending.

Trust Leeds if For People Who:
Yet Without:
Trust Leeds is For People With:

People like Geraldine

Geraldine has always cared for others. In thinking about what she wanted to do for herself, she took up a suggestion of a beginner course in Indian head massage. This meant she could help herself and others by relieving stress and learning something new.

Using Youtube videos Geraldine taught herself and practised on friends and family, with the goal of eventually going professional. To achieve this
Geraldine was required to complete a qualification and get insurance. This was too expensive. Geraldine thought that she would not be able to achieve her vision.

Then, a community advisor pointed Geraldine towards Trust Leeds. With just a small loan Geraldine could afford the course and insurance. Trust Leeds helped her create a clear business plan which made the loan feel less daunting and showed that she could indeed repay it

My reading and writing isn't great but I knew what I wanted to do. Trust Leeds helped me to think through my business ideas and complete the application. Someone called me a business woman the other day - I never saw myself as that, but I am!

Now Geraldine has regular clients and further ambitions of expanding her business through learning to drive and running a mobile business.

She also hopes to buy a house and a mini-bus for days out with her 22 grandchildren.

We’d love to hear about your plans and ideas.

Trust Leeds is for people who:
  • want to grow their own business
  • are passionate about their plans
  • have determination to make it work
  • know what they know – and what they don’t know!
  • are committed to paying back their loan so others can benefit further down the line
Trust Leeds is for people with:
  • a small enterprise or a great business idea
  • lots of passion and potential
  • determination and resourcefulness
  • a spark which is worth fanning
Yet without:
  • advantageous life chances and opportunities (under-served)
  • strong credit histories (poor and/or financially excluded)
Who want to:
  • help themselves, and each other, and re-write their own stories


We also lend to Self-Reliant Groups and make follow-up loans (often at even better rates of interest).

A poor credit rating or past problem don’t necessarily mean we won’t lend to you. However, we are an ethical lender and will only give you a loan if we can see that we’re not adding to your problems or debts, and that you will pay the loan back.

We lend between £500 and £3,000 (smaller or larger loans can be considered).

Your loan is repayable in monthly instalments, starting from the month after you receive your loan, and can be paid over one to three years.

We will lend you money for things you need to help your small business develop, or to set up your own business.  Eg for stock, equipment, marketing, website, premises, insurance or kit.

We won’t lend to anything illegal or that we consider unethical (eg gambling, pornography, weapons etc).

We don’t charge you any set-up fees.  We do charge interest on the money you borrow from us, usually around 14.5% flat, or around 25.8% APR. (We often charge a lower interest rate for follow-on loans and for loans to Self-Reliant Groups).  We’ll go through these details with you, and talk you through examples of what this means in terms of your monthly repayments, to make sure you understand and have budgeted accordingly.

1 . Get in touch

Tell us your plans and your contact details:

2 . We’ll send you an application form

We will send you an application form, simple spreadsheets to fill in and outline the costs of terms of a loan with Trust Leeds. We’ll also ask you for a list of documents to check your identity, spending history etc. 


3 . Let’s talk

If you decide to apply for a loan with us, we will meet up with you and talk through your business plan and finances.

We can signpost you to templates and vital business tools so you are ready for a loan, if you’d like help on this. We’ll go through the forms together and chat to you about how we can support you to build your business by investing a Trust Leeds loan, and about how you can help make sure things work out well. 

4 . Checks and research

As a responsible lender, we’ll do some checks and background research, we may have a few more questions for you, and then we’ll let you know if you can borrow from us for your business plan.

5 . Agreement

If we can offer you a loan, we’ll sign the loan agreement form together and make sure you understand and agree to the commitments you’re taking on.

6 . Loan and payment

Then we pay your loan over to you, and you start paying back in monthly instalments which start four weeks later.

7 . Contact and support

We keep in touch with each other, and talk through any worries or concerns until you’ve paid back your loan.

If you repay us on time or early, and your business is developing, we will be happy to receive an application for a further loan, usually at a lower interest rate.