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MSC’s J. Buckland Launches “Hard Choices”

 April 17, 2012 –  Menno Simons College Professor Jerry Buckland’s non-fiction book Hard Choices: Financial Exclusion, Fringe Banks and Poverty in Urban Canada, published by The University of Toronto Press, was launched at Winnipeg’s McNally Robinson Booksellers on April 5, 2012.

 Much of the research for the book was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).  In 2006, Buckland, who teaches International Development Studies, was awarded an SSHRC grant to conduct important research into financial exclusions and poverty, with the end goal of fostering better accessibility through community organizations, financial service providers, and government.

 Buckland notes that when low-income city dwellers lack access to mainstream banking services, many end up turning to fringe banks, such as cheque-cashers and pawnshops, for some or all of their financial transactions. In his powerful study, Hard Choices, Buckland takes a comprehensive look at this predicament of financial exclusion faced by those underserved by conventional financial institutions.

Buckland’s book, which is the first account of the nature and causes of financial exclusion in Canada, thoroughly integrates economic and social data on consumer choice, bank behaviour, and government policy. Buckland demonstrates why the current two-tier system of banking is dysfunctional, especially in the context of new credit products that aggravate income inequality and stifle local economic growth.

Jerry Buckland is a professor at Menno Simons College (MSC). MSC is a College of Canadian Mennonite University and affiliated with The University of Winnipeg.

 Menno Simons College is one of the world’s largest centres for peace and justice studies. The College provides education flowing from Anabaptist Mennonite understandings of faith, peace, and justice while engaging other religious traditions and intellectual perspectives. MSC fosters a learning community that prepares students from diverse backgrounds for participation and leadership in local and global communities. Considered a pioneer in International Development Studies and Conflict Resolution Studies, MSC offers a wide range of courses and experienced faculty in these areas, along with practicum opportunities and supporting scholarships.