The FCA has strongly emphasises the need for firms to give high priority to the treatment of vulnerable customers. IE Hub welcomes this new guidance and is encouraged by the support we have seen as we continue to work with our clients to ensure fair outcomes are achieved for consumers. It is encouraging to see the “tell it once” message being promoted as this is at the heart of what IE Hub aims to achieve for its users…not just with FCA regulated firms but with creditors from all sectors.
While we recognise that vulnerability reaches far beyond income and expenditure assessment, we believe that affordability is a core process of credit and collections and a customer centric approach is key to positive engagement, wider disclosure and identification of vulnerable characteristics.
The FCA stresses that “Vulnerable consumers can be exposed to harm if firms have incorrect information or are not aware of information that has already been shared with another part of the organisation”. IE Hub can be used to provide consistent information across multiple departments and debt types even when managed on different systems. Sharing is not limited to a single creditor as the customer can share the same information with multiple firms from their IE Hub account. We welcome greater participation in our sharing community as wider memberships reduces effort, increase engagement and creates better outcomes for consumers.
The FCA also states that “Firms should ensure that they have systems and processes that allow customer service staff to record and access information that will be required in the future to respond to vulnerable consumers’ needs”. In this case IE Hub can be used to disclose changes to circumstances along with potential needs. IE Hub’s workflow system prompts users to review and update their circumstances regularly so up to date an accurate information can be shared with creditors so the appropriate response can be made. In our recent customer survey 88% of respond stated they would be confident to revisit their I&E and share up dated information if their circumstances changed.
MI is also a feature of the guidance with a focus given to what, how and when information is gathered so firms can better understand the experience and outcomes for vulnerable customers. Again, this is something which IE Hub would endorse, it aligns to our own view and work we do with our clients to not only deliver a snapshot of financial vulnerability but also the ability to view changes throughout the life cycle of an account.
The FCA encourages firms to help frontline staff to understand how to listen out for information indicating vulnerability. Using IE Hub gives the customer the ability to prepare before they speak to a creditor, this can be presented to the frontline staff who can focus their time and attention on a quality conversation and delivery of the right outcome rather than collecting data from a customer. Our customer survey showed that using IE Hub before speaking with a creditor helped to reduce financial anxiety for 79% of respondents.
If you’d like to join IE Hub or want to know how we can help you engage and support your vulnerable customers e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org