The phrase ‘Compliance’ covers many areas. It affects all parts of a business and how it operates, including not just the firm’s policies and strategy but also the way in which it communicates with each individual customer. Taking compliance seriously means having the governance arrangements in place to ensure a consistent approach throughout the entire business. Looking carefully at the regulations and guidelines that are relevant to the particular organisation’s activities is obviously important. Equally as important is ensuring that the practices conducted by the business are in accordance with the spirit of those regulations.
So far as debt collection agencies are concerned, the regulatory framework can be seen as a way of encouraging firms to treat customers fairly. It is fair to say that the financial services sector as a whole has been the subject of a considerable amount of negative press overage over recent years. The consumer credit niche has certainly not been immune to the cynical outlook shared not just by commentators and members of the public, but also policy makers. Calls for a revised regulatory framework have been strong in the aftermath of the 2008 downturn. It is important to remember however, that the development of best practice standards in the debt recovery industry has been an ongoing evolutionary process for some time.
Certain practices are no longer acceptable. These include inappropriately aggressive letters sent to individual customers. It also includes failure to validate contact data, leading to outside parties being contacted on numerous occasions. Certain companies within this niche have always rejected this type of approach and have adopted the type of practices that provide a very good example to other operators. One such company is the leading UK-based debt collections agency, Wescot. Rather than merely paying lip service to compliance and adherence to guidelines, this particular company has compliance at the heart of everything it does. It uses the latest technology to ensure compliance with all relevant data protection rules. Wescot also believes strongly in treating customers fairly. By engaging with individual customers on a meaningful level, it not only maximises the chances of recovery, but also of the business being able to rehabilitate and maintain its relationship with the individual customer. Rather than seeing compliance as a burden to be endured, it ought to be seen as a tool for increasing the prospects of success.