PFG’s Purpose is to help put people on a path to a better everyday life. To do this, we provide customers with opportunities to borrow a sensible amount in a transparent, responsible and sustainable way.
Serving customers in a responsible way
PFG is in the business of providing tailored and responsible products, services. We serve a wide range of customers. Some may bring in a regular salary while others have less consistent incomes or receive benefits. Many bring home average salaries, but we also work with customers with lower incomes and those who have had to deal with significant life events, such as divorce, job losses or long-term illness, which can cause them financial difficulty.
Short or longer term financial difficulties can damage customers’ credit files, which can lead to them being underserved or totally excluded by mainstream lenders. The products, services and partnerships we offer are made to meet the needs of customers in the non-standard market. Our services can help people enter or re-renter the credit market, stay in control of their finances and build up their credit scores for the future. In the case of Moneybarn, where a vehicle is held as security, we are able to lend more credit for longer periods.
Supporting customers in vulnerable situations
We put people on a path to a better everyday life by offering credit to those who struggle to access it from mainstream lenders. We understand the difficulties our customers and their communities can face, which is why we have reviewed our Social Impact Programme (SIP).
Traditionally, our SIP focused on providing grants to local community organisations and charities. We’ve now expanded the programme to include a workstream dedicated to improving the level of support we provide to vulnerable customers, as well as to colleagues working on the front line.
We understand our customers can sometimes find themselves in financially challenging situations due to unforeseen circumstances and significant life events. This is why we train our call centre colleagues to recognise signs that might indicate a customer could be classed as ‘vulnerable’ or may be facing some degree of financial difficulty.
We have also recently implemented a programme of work with Surviving Economic Abuse. This initiative will allow us to deliver colleague awareness sessions on domestic and economic abuse. We have also developed relationships with organisations and charities, such as IncomeMax and the Money Advice Trust, which provide training to help colleagues communicate more effectively and to increase understanding of the UK welfare system.
Our call centre training and guidance is based around the customer protocol TEXAS (Thank, Explain, eXplicit consent, Ask and Signpost), developed by the Money Advice Trust and Royal College of Psychiatrists. We also factor in guidance published by our regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. In some cases, colleagues can offer customers forbearance options, such as breathing space or an adjustment to their repayment plans, so they can better manage their finances. In some cases, a decision may be taken to write the debt off.
Alongside equipping colleagues with the right skills to assist our customers, we have a long history of supporting a wide range of organisations in the money advice sector. Working with these organisations allows our customers to seek free or low-cost independent financial advice and support if they are facing financial hardship.
We partnered with PAPYRUS to help our colleagues better identify customers who are having thoughts of suicide. This training makes sure our colleagues respond empathetically and signpost customers to appropriate sources of support.