Two important documents are to be launched by the Credit Services Association (CSA) this week tackling the major issue of the withdrawal of paying accounts and offering key guidance and high-level principles of outsourcing in the credit industry.
Tom Chandos, Senior Independent Director of the CSA, says the documents, to be presented at the CSA’s Members’ Meeting and AGM on Wednesday, are the result of months of consultation and deliberation with members and legal counsel: “Our aim is to provide authoritative guidance on key areas of concern and debate within the debt collection industry and to build upon the launch of the new model contract,” he explains.
“In relation to the withdrawal of paying accounts, the document outlines the key considerations including why the withdrawal may be necessary, how the debt collection agency should be fairly compensated, and the likely impact on the customer.
“It also considers the issues regarding the exchange of data, and of ensuring that whatever decision is agreed, it must always comply with the Financial Conduct Authority Principles of Business, industry best-practice, and Treating Customers Fairly (TCF).”
The CSA’s work in developing guidance for the debt collection industry has also led to the launch of a second document that provides high-level principles of outsourcing in the credit industry.
Lord Chandos says that while the CSA encompasses many different categories of member, with all committed to providing a compliant service focused on delivering positive outcomes for customers, there are different views on what ‘best practice in outsourcing’ should look like: “By establishing a set of high-level principles for outsourcing, the CSA is looking to define best practice for all concerned and to create a practical template through which those involved in outsourcing can govern the relationship,” he explains.
“As a trade association, the CSA must be mindful of anything which could be viewed as anti-competitive by nature and therefore has focused its work to establish a set of recommended principles which it hopes all constituents of the industry can subscribe to, but which will not create binding ‘rules’.”
The principles consider such areas as due diligence, contractual agreements, conduct risk and performance management, and compliance and oversight. It also sets out principles of data and data sharing, remuneration and reward, industry best practice and change management.