So far as the credit services sector is concerned, a lot of changes have occurred over the last five years since the beginning of the economic downturn. Some of those changes have come about as a consequence of the new regulatory framework ushered in by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Other changes are linked to the habits and circumstances of consumers.
Before 2008, there was a much higher prevalence of interest-only and high loan-to-value mortgages. Over the last five years, these products have either disappeared completely or else have become much less common. This has implications for those companies who operate within the credit services industry and whose services include attempting to make contact with customers with whom businesses have lost contact. More individuals (especially would-be first time buyers and younger people) are more likely to be living in short-term rental arrangements. There is also a greater likelihood that customers are living with friends or family under informal arrangements. For those involved in the consumer credit industry, this can make it difficult to differentiate between the type of scenario where a customer has moved on and has merely forgotten to update his or her contact details and those situations where customers are actively trying to ignore attempts to re-establish contact.
What has also happened over the last few years is that more organisations are relying on ever-more technologically-driven methods of tracing customers. As Wescot understands, there is definitely a place for technology when it comes to validating customer details and ensuring that customer contact details and other information is correct. As far as Wescot is concerned, this is all part and parcel of treating customers fairly. Nevertheless, there may be limitations to relying solely on what is generally referred to as ‘smart data’. The company points to a noticeable correlation between the use of smart-data driven products on the one hand and an increase on mis-trace situations across the industry as a whole on the other.
Technology is a useful tool; but so is proven experience. Wescot is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is a member of the Credit Services Association. The company has the processes in place to ensure full compliance with those bodies’ rules and guidelines. The company successfully combines up-to-date validation processes with vast experience in the field.