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 an affordable 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 and partnerships. 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 specific needs of these 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 need it, but who are not well served by mainstream lenders. We understand the difficulties our customers and their communities can face, which is why a key pillar of our Social Impact Programme focuses on providing grants to charities and specialist partners to address issues like customer vulnerability, product accessibility and financial difficulties. These organisations also guide and advise our colleagues to support our customers when addressing these kinds of issues.
We also understand that our customers can find themselves, at times, in financially challenging situations due to unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, we ensure that our call centre colleagues are trained in recognising signs that might indicate a customer could be classified as ‘vulnerable’, or may be facing financial difficulty, whether in the short term or long term.
Through the established relationships we have with organisations and charities, such as IncomeMax and the Money Advice Trust, we are able to provide training to help colleagues communicate more effectively and to increase understanding of the UK welfare system. 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. And we have 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.
More generally, 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.
Improving customer satisfaction rates
One of the key performance indicators we track to determine whether we are providing our customers with products, services and partnerships that meet their particular needs, and help put them on a path to a better everyday life is customer satisfaction.
Measuring this year on year also gives us some insight into where we can make improvements to our offerings so that we can continually meet or surpass customers’ expectations.
Here you'll find these rates for the year ending 31 December 2020:
Customer satisfaction rates for 2020
Feefo rating for 2020
Customer satisfaction rates for 2020 (2019: 91%)
As we supported our customers throughout the year, and following the publication of guidance by the FCA, payment holidays of between one and three months were offered to customers in Vanquis Bank, Moneybarn and the Consumer Credit Division, which could be taken if they were facing a drop in income as a result of the pandemic.
During 2020, 170,000 customers from across PFG took payment holidays to help them to navigate the challenges of 2020. Customers were also able to access a range of remote lending solutions so that they could continue to manage their accounts while restrictions were in place.
You can read more on this in our Corporate Responsibility Report for 2020.