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From 1 July 2017, the finance and banking industry operating in the UK will be represented by a new trade association, UK Finance. It will represent around 300 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payment-related services. The new organisation will take on most of the activities previously carried out by the Asset Based Finance Association, the British Bankers’ Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association.x
The first ever Financial Services Vulnerability Taskforce has today published a report outlining best practice recommendations for the industry as it aims to improve the experience and outcomes of customers who may be facing challenging personal circumstances.
Ensuring that customers who are vulnerable are treated not only fairly, but with empathy and sensitivity to their circumstances is a growing priority.
The Taskforce, which brings the financial services industry together with charities and consumer groups, has outlined steps designed to build on the work already undertaken by many institutions.
The report sets out a number of specific recommendations, including that financial service firms:
The Taskforce also recommends that the industry works together to share best practice, including good practice it has identified in other sectors such as utilities and telecoms.
Chief Executive of the Money Advice Trust Joanna Elson OBE, who chaired the Taskforce, said:
“While many firms have already made progress in improving the experience and outcomes of customers who are vulnerable, there is room for improvement across the industry. Fortunately, this issue has never been higher on the agenda.
“This report, which builds on and amplifies the Financial Conduct Authority’s Occasional Paper on vulnerability last year, represents a significant step forward in improving the experience of all customers, no matter what their personal circumstances. The real test of the Taskforce’s work, of course, will be whether customers who are vulnerable begin to experience improvements in the everyday service they receive – whether they are accessing a current account, managing a loan or making any other interaction with financial service providers of all kinds. I have every confidence that firms will rise to this challenge, and that real results on the ground will follow.”
BBA Chief Executive Anthony Browne added:
“All customers deserve to be treated fairly and sensitively. This is especially important for those who may be in vulnerable circumstances.
“Offering the right support to these individuals at the right time is vital. Today’s report sets a new gold standard for ensuring vulnerable customers get a first class service.
“These recommendations will, for example, make it easier for friends or family to help manage a customer’s finances at their request, as well as ensuring those coming to terms with difficult personal circumstances only have to disclose it once. This will help to ensure that customers in vulnerable circumstances receive the service that they deserve.”
Notes to editors
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The Taskforce also identifies nine key principles to improve outcomes for customers in vulnerable circumstances:
The Core Taskforce
Wider Stakeholder Group
Other stakeholders and contributors