How Can Debt Collection Agencies Help Improve Customers’ Financial Capability?
November 2017

With Financial Capability Week taking place we explore how Debt Collection Agencies (DCA) like ourselves can make a positive impact on customer’s financial capability. Our sector plays a vital role in dealing with people who have fallen into problem debt by helping them find a repayment solution. This provides DCAs with an opportunity to help prevent a pattern of recurring problem debt once it is already an issue by resolving debts in an affordable manner that enables customers to get back on their feet financially. We examine the key steps that we take here at Alex M Adamson in order to better the financial wellbeing of our customers:

Work Closely With The Money Advice Sector

It is vital that the debt collection sector and money advice sector work closely together on an integrated approach to resolve problem debt. The money advice sector encourages people not to ignore problem debt and get in touch with their debt collection agency before it gets out of control. In turn we encourage those in problem debt to seek money advice by providing details of where to go for advice throughout all of our correspondence with customers, including issuing debt advice packs when appropriate. These detail where money advice can be sought and information on the consequences of not dealing with outstanding debts. We also encourage customers to seek help with avoiding future issues by utilising money advice services who can provide support with future financial management and planning.

Work In Line With Common Financial Tool Recommendations

In April 2015 Accountant In Bankruptcy introduced the use of a single common financial tool (CFT) to assess household income and expenditure across all statutory debt solutions. This tool features a detailed budgeting format to assist with the preparation of repayment offers to ensure they are realistic & sustainable. At AMA we have incorporated this methodology in to our processes when assessing how much is a reasonable payment for debtors when setting arrangements, including our payment proposal application form that can be accessed by customers via our website.

Train Our Team To Treat Customers Fairly

Our Customer Care policy includes guidelines for our team on dealing with those in debt in a fair manner. The policy was initially inspired by the guidelines which are to be met by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) members like ourselves when dealing with consumer credit cases. The key values that lie within these guidelines are to treat customers fairly through actions including speaking to customers the way you would expect to be spoken to, not interacting with minors, respecting confidentiality, avoiding unsociable hours contact and safeguarding personal documentation. We have extended that ethos in to all interactions at AMA to ensure all customers get the high level of service & respect that they deserve.

We also ensure our operations & training allow our team to thoroughly identify different groups so they can adapt their customer service approach to take them on the correct journey to reach the best outcome in the fairest manner. With particularly vulnerable customers being referred to our specially trained Customer Assistance Team (CAT).

We believe Debt Collection Agencies should ensure their values and processes allow for opportunities to better a customer’s financial capability & wellbeing through informative and fair practises.

If you’d like to find out more about Financial Capability Week visit the Website