The Credit Services Association (CSA), the voice of the UK debt collection and purchase sectors, has revised its Code of Practice to incorporate new Principles of Business.
The new revised Code continues to promote best practice in terms of collections activity, and also details what the CSA expects of its members in terms of their business set-up, financial stability, employing people with the right skills, staff training, and most importantly, how they treat all customers fairly.
The CSA Code of Practice has been through a considerable transformation since it was first introduced in 1985. It was used by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to produce its own Debt Collection Guidance in 2003, which was further updated in 2006 and 2011 with strong influence from CSA. The Guidance now forms the basis of the FCA’s CONC rules.
The Code’s aim has always been to promote best practice in debt collection and across the debt purchase arena, regardless of the type of debt. However, with the introduction of the FCA’s regulation of consumer credit, a number of CSA member firms fell outside the FCA’s regime due to the specialist services they offer such as collection of utility or commercial debt.
“This meant that there was a vacuum in terms of consistent regulation and rules for that group of the membership, and we wanted to fill that space to ensure fair customer outcomes and a more even playing field,” says Sara de Tute, Board Director (Compliance) for the CSA.
“As the industry has evolved, so has our Code, and with the release of this new version we have incorporated elements of the FCA’s regulatory framework by introducing new Principles of Business and adding context and industry relevance to these Principles.”
John Ricketts, President of the CSA, says that the Code will continue to help deliver best practice and drive standards: “The Code reinforces all elements of best practice,” he adds, “which in turn provides a high level of confidence for our members’ clients, their prospective clients, regulators, consumers and industry stakeholders.”
The revised Code of Practice will be released at a press launch at House of Commons, Thames Pavilion on Wednesday 5 July 2017.