Small-medium enterprise experiences of financial service in urban and rural settings : a phenomenological study of a changing community finance landscape and the sustainable finance narrative
Relationships between small-medium size businesses ('SME') and community banks are complex, meaningful, and often described as characteristically "opaque". This study offers a conceptual framework for exploring this "opaqueness" from the perspective of SMEs and community financiers engaged in the process of community finance. Insights into the experiential dynamics of SMEs and community financiers co-navigating the financial service landscape offers an exploratory frame for investigations of interactive capacity, knowledge formation, and reflexive orientations. The implications of what transpires between SMEs and their community financiers can be far-reaching and of particular importance as the financial service landscape evolves to respond to calls for more 'sustainable finance' to support the goals of Agenda 2030, conveyed as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The study findings suggest that multi-dimensional aspects of community financee not well understood. Future research and practitioner ideation is suggested around the importance of placing community finance, as a facilitative process, within emerging 'sustainable finance' frameworks. Doing so offers an enhanced social-ecological lens for exploring the role, effects, and effectiveness of community finance in the 21st century.