As a new parliamentary term commences, the financial services trade associations are wasting no time in seeking to ensure ministers are aware of the views held by the associations’ members.

The Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) is lobbying the new Government asking for changes to be made to the Consumer Credit Act, including:

  • Changes to the wording firms can use in arrears communications. The Association says the existing prescribed wording on these communications is “severe” and adds that it believes the language used can deter customers from seeking assistance from their lender at the very time when they most need support
  • Firms to be given the power to give borrowers more time to make their payments
  • Changes to the information disclosure requirements so that customers who deal with lenders via smartphones do not need to do “30 to 150 swipes” to review their agreement and other documentation

Stephen Haddrill, Director General of the FLA, said:

“Government should reform the CCA urgently, rather than continuing to turn a tin ear to those in financial difficulty, or those trying to help them. Consumers need to be given a credible, firm promise of legislation early in the new Parliament; legislation that will deliver protections appropriate for the 21st century.”

Mental health charities have also commented in recent months that anyone who is in debt and suffering from a mental health condition would also be intimidated by the language used in arrears notifications.

The Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA) says its top three priorities are:

  • Reducing the amount that firms need to spend on regulatory compliance, and on associated areas such as professional indemnity insurance
  • Better co-ordination of financial education programmes in schools
  • Facilitating the provision of ‘financial MOTs’ by employers. These would happen at age 30, 40, 50 and 60 and would be undertaken by a regulated financial adviser.

PIMFA intends to lobby Parliament on January 23.

Liz Field, Chief Executive of PIMFA, said:

“We are committed to building a culture of saving and investment across the UK and this starts with ensuring that policy makers are able to create an environment where ordinary retail savers can thrive. We look forward to working with the new government in moving towards this goal.

“As representatives of a community of wealth creators in the UK, we look forward to engaging constructively with the next government whatever its colour or composition. When Parliament returns, we will do our utmost to ensure that this community is at the heart of any plans which go towards building a culture of saving and investment.”

 

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