Consultant Zone

Are customers getting a fair hearing?

It is not easy ensuring that operations areas within lenders and servicers are adhering to internal or external standards when dealing direct with consumers, particularly by telephone contact.

There is a potential minefield of regulatory and compliance issues to consider. And with hundreds of call centre staff to supervise, how can organisations ensure their representatives are behaving appropriately, and complying with Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) principles?

The good news, is that in our experience, firms are paying more attention to the training and supervision of their call centre staff and are prepared to include external quality review processes to help them make sure they are compliant in this area.

With the FSA placing an increasing emphasis on conduct risk, it is important that contact with customers should not prove detrimental, for example poor advice being given on a telephone call. Constant monitoring of call centre performance, ensuring high standards are being maintained and correct information is passed on to the customer, is essential. Conduct Risk and TCF principles are closely linked; failure to embrace them into an organisation’s culture, especially when dealing with sensitive issues such as customers’ ability to meet regular monthly commitments, is a major risk factor to any lender, servicer or holder of mortgage assets.

At Rockstead we have designed and built bespoke review processes for lenders, including for inbound/outbound collection departments and separate call centres. We have carried out monitoring and audit work and recommended improvements in call scripting, based on our in depth knowledge of both the regulatory environment and our own teams direct experience working for lenders within underwriting, risk, compliance and collections areas.

As direct contact plays a crucial role in collections strategies, it is important to ensure that staff are not only trained and supervised properly, but that independent reviews are carried out on a regular basis, to give re-assurance that internal systems are appropriate and up to date.