Skip to content

Debt Collection Industry Developments in 2015

The debt collection industry here in the UK saw some significant developments last year, leading to progress that has permanently changed the face of debt collection in Britain.

To begin with, 2015 saw the launch of the first ever UK Credit & collections Conference (UKCCC) in September.  The UKCCC was formerly the CSA (Credit Services Association) Annual Conference and Exhibition and continues to feature the traditional CSA 4-ball Golf Tournament prior to the start of the conference.  In addition to the new name the event moved to the Hilton London Wembley in the shadow of the world famous sports stadium. 

The 2015 UKCCC identified five key developments that should shape debt collection practices in the future:

1 - REDUCE STRESS AND HASSLE FOR THE CUSTOMERS

The industry as a whole has been considering practical methods of improving the customer experience.  The CSA in particular has been exploring the use of a one-stop portal to reduce the amount of time that customers spend sharing financial details over the phone.  There is also the issue of dealing with vulnerable customers to consider – to begin with, vulnerability is something that is not easily identified or measured and requires in-depth customer engagement and understanding.  Members attending the Conference were introduced to the British Standard on Inclusive Service Provision and made aware of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) Paper No 8 on Consumer Vulnerability.

2 - IMPROVING INDUSSTRY BEST PRACTICE

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the industry regulator and announced that debt collection and debt purchase will not directly feature in the FCA Thematic Review – good news for the industry as a whole as this demonstrates that it’s not considered an area of risk.  This has led to a further review of our Code of Practice and a working party has been established to scrutinize a new Trace Code of Conduct and Principles of Trace.  There is also a working party that’s dedicated to the development of Best Practice Guidance on the withdrawal of paying portfolios and a Model Contract has been launched as a benchmark of good practice in drafting contracts in this new regulatory environment.

3 - MAKING SURE THAT COMPLIANCE IS NOT AT ODDS WITH ACHIEVING BEST CUSTOMER OUTCOMES

The industry has lobbied for a rethink in the coming year of the two major proposed regulatory challenges, claiming they would have a negative effect on both our clients and the way in which we do business. 

4 -MAKING SURE THE INDUSTRY IS AWARE OF THE LATEST STANDARDS

A key theme in 2015 was ensuring that the industry as a whole is up to speed when it comes to the latest standards.  The CSA offers all the latest learning and development solutions via Level 2 and Leve 3 Diplomas in Debt Collection, a Level 5 Diploma in Compliance Risk Management and a Collector Accreditation Initiative (CAI).  More than 20,000 test have been taken with 80% of entrants achieving a pass.  In 2016, more online options and funding opportunities will be available to members to further education within the industry.  This means that industry standards will continue to improve.

5 – BANISHING THE MYTHS

A collaboration between the CSA and the FCA on Affordability and Due Diligence will help to dispel some of the myths associated with the sector which will help to increase customer and stakeholder confidence in the industry.