Meeting our customers needs
Our social purpose is about the financial inclusion of those who are not well served by mainstream credit providers or are excluded altogether. We describe this market as the non-standard credit market.
This means that it is imperative that we put the needs of our 2.4 million customers at the front and centre of everything we do. We do this by delivering credit products that meet the particular needs of our customers and treating our them responsibly throughout their journey with us, from the point at which we market our products to customers, throughout the entire term of their loan, especially if they experience any difficulties.
Treating our customers responsibly every step of the way
Treating our customers responsibly is built into everything we do. From the way we market and sell our products, and how we make our lending decisions, to how often we contact customers and our complaints processes. We have developed our products to meet our customers' needs; creating simple, transparent products with high levels of forbearance and flexibility.
Vanquis Bank credit limits start as low as £250 in line with our ‘low and grow’ approach to lending – and we only extend a limit if it is appropriate to do so. We use our tailored underwriting process which has been developed over the last 13 years. Whether we decide to lend to an applicant is based on a combination of external credit reference data and our own scorecards.
We follow up approved applications with a welcome phone call, which enables us to develop our relationship with the customer from this early stage, and also gives us the opportunity to collect more data. Alongside this call, new customers receive an information pack on their new credit card, which offers advice on how to increase their credit rating through responsible financial behaviours. A combination of text messages to remind customers of payment dates, and phone calls to follow-up on missed payments, proves an effective way to keep in touch.
Provident home credit
Our most traditional loan product, Provident home credit, has the relationship between the customer and the self-employed agent at its core; the agent usually visits the customer’s home to set up the loan and collect repayments each week. Agents only receive commission on what they collect back from the customer, so there is no reason for them to lend more than customers are likely to be able to pay back. The agent makes the final lending decision using both central underwriting and their own judgement to decide if the customer is likely to be willing, and able, to pay the loan back under the agreed terms.
The customer-agent relationship, once developed, enables a sensitive response if a customer encounters financial difficulty. Agents can then put steps in place to help the customer – including reduced or postponed repayments.
Following the roll-out of the collections app in 2014, which agents use on their smartphones, the Consumer Credit Division successfully deployed a lending app to all agents in the UK in 2015. The successful introduction of this technology has multiple benefits: eliminating paper, better enforcing and evidencing compliance, improving collections performance and arrears management, and saving time, allowing more time to be spent focusing on customers.
Satsuma Loans is based on a modern model of lending, though is differentiated from other similar products in the market through building on our longstanding knowledge of issuing Provident home credit loans and Vanquis Bank credit cards. Lending decisions are made using external bureau data and our own scorecard – which collects invaluable information on behavioural and social data before making credit decisions. Like our other products, Satsuma Loans uses the ‘low and grow’ lending approach.
In addition to collecting Vanquis Bank loans, the Vanquis Bank contact centre collections team in Chatham are also responsible for collecting Satsuma Loans repayments. This team keeps in regular contact with customers, including contacting them by phone and text message, and working with them to ensure the best possible outcome if they get into difficulty.
The longer, larger loans that we offer to customers through our glo business are underpinned by a guarantor – typically a family member or friend of the customer with a good credit history. The guarantor agrees to pay for the loan if the customer’s circumstances change and they cannot afford to make their repayments.
Both the customer and guarantor are subject to rigorous affordability checks, and both are required to co-sign the loan agreement before it is processed. As with our other products, it is key that glo delivers a customer-centric approach to forbearance if the customer gets into financial difficulty. glo includes no set-up fees or early repayment fees, and makes repayments simple through direct debit arrangements.
The majority of Moneybarn customers come to us through a network of well established brokers. Our responsible approach to lending has helped us develop strong relationships with broker staff.
Moneybarn’s underwriting process is highly automated to allow for rapid provisional approvals. Lending decisions are based on external credit data, our own scorecards, and affordability assessments. Brokers only earn commission on each lead they provide which qualifies for a loan.
Customers using a broker can source their vehicle from any car dealership, and payments are made through monthly direct debit. Any missed payments are followed up with contact from Moneybarn.