Embark FCA guidance

Paylinks Embark tool effortlessly enables firms to meet criteria of new FCA Consumer Credit and Coronavirus Guidance 

The most recent FCA guidance came into force on the 2nd October and gives further clarity to firms dealing with customers who have been granted payment deferrals. 

Weve summarised some of the key considerations for firms on how to implement the guidance, but also given an overview of key Embark features that can instantly be enabled to deliver against the guidance.   If youd like any additional information on how Embark can support you with your current payment holiday strategy please get in touch at enquiries@paylinksolutions.co.uk

FCA Guidance Embark Solution
Use of Digital Tools
Point 2.12 of the guidance explains how digital tools can be used to: “Firstly, automate processes including asking borrowers who cannot resume full payments to provide information on their circumstances, including income and expenditure”
The Embark tool uses a combination of Credit Reference Agency (CRA) and Open Banking data to provide an accurate picture of the customer’s financial situation in minutes
“Secondly, offer a customer a forbearance option the firm has identified as appropriate to the customer’s individual circumstances, and get the customer’s agreement to it”
Paylink’s new ‘Digital Triage Hub’ provides firms with a tailored solution which can be adapted to individual customer’s circumstances and allows firms to effectively handle large volumes of customers coming to the end of payment holidays
“Lastly, offer a customer a range of options that the firm has identified as appropriate to the customer’s individual circumstances for the customer to choose from”
A combination of Paylink’s Digital Triage and Arrangements features give customers a number of options from start to end of the digital journey and means that firms don’t experience delays in getting customers to the right outcome.
Support Customers who choose a non-digital route

Section 2.14 of the guidance asks firms to make sure they can provide support to those customer’s choosing a non-digital route                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Embark’s agent-led journey means that at any point in the workflow the customer can seamlessly move from self-serve to agent-led at the touch of a button. In cases where the customer requests this from the beginning, the agent can complete the Embark workflow with the customer over the phone. 

Support Customers at the end of a payment deferral period

Section 3.2 re-confirms that firms should take reasonable steps to contact their customers in good time before the end of the payment deferral period 

Embark’s ‘bulk upload’ feature provides firms with a way of contacting their customers in advance of payment holidays ending and Paylink’s bespoke approach to development means that firms can tailor communications to suit different types of customers, including:

Providing information about the next payment due date

What the firm should do if the customer indicates that they might continue to face payment difficulties

A combination of options, including Digital Triage, Arrangements and Referral to Debt Advice then provides customers with different ways in which they can provide an update to the firm, negating the need to increase agent capacity to cope with the expected increases in call volumes.

Sharing records of completed I&Es

Point 5.25 of the new guidance states: 

Where a customer, without prompting or pressure from the firm, makes a proposal to the firm, the firm may put this in place without undertaking an income and expenditure assessment. The firm should make clear to the customer that they can request a review of this arrangement at any time.  

“The firm should also contact the customer after 60 days of the arrangement being in place, to confirm whether they require further support or a review of the sustainability of their arrangement (for example, on the basis of an income and expenditure assessment).” 

Paylink’s Digital Triage Hub provides a central place where customers can propose details of payments they wish to make, and they can be effectively triaged into the correct outcome for the customer. In some cases, Embark can send an automated request to review the arrangement and gain affordability assessment after this event, where applicable.

Customers who’ve completed the Embark journey will already have a downloaded, easy-to-share PDF of their completed I&E if they’re asked to share it. Once more, this means that firms using Embark are in line with the new FCA guidance that not only empowers customers but also allows firms to respond better and more accurately, using less resource during this challenging period.

5.34 of the new guidance states:

“The firm should, where possible and within its existing systems capabilities, share a record of any income and expenditure assessment that they complete with customers or make these available to customers (so that they are able to share them with other lenders) and debt advice providers.

Although firms are not required to rely on information collected by third parties, firms should support and encourage customers to re-use up-to-date income and expenditure information previously gathered where possible. For example, an income and expenditure assessment completed by another lender.”

Embark gives customers a PDF of their completed Income and Expenditure which can be downloaded and shared with other lenders, meaning that firms using Embark are already complying with this new piece of FCA guidance without having to do anything further themselves.

Use of Digital Tools

FCA Guidance

Point 2.12 of the guidance explains how digital tools can be used to:
“Firstly, automate processes including asking borrowers who cannot resume full payments to provide information on their circumstances, including income and expenditure”

Embark Solution

The Embark tool uses a combination of Credit Reference Agency (CRA) and Open Banking data to provide an accurate picture of the customer’s financial situation in minutes

FCA Guidance

“Secondly, offer a customer a forbearance option the firm has identified as appropriate to the customer’s individual circumstances, and get the customer’s agreement to it”

Embark Solution

Paylink’s new ‘Digital Triage Hub’ provides firms with a tailored solution which can be adapted to individual customer’s circumstances and allows firms to effectively handle large volumes of customers coming to the end of payment holidays

FCA Guidance

“Lastly, offer a customer a range of options that the firm has identified as appropriate to the customer’s individual circumstances for the customer to choose from”

Embark Solution

A combination of Paylink’s Digital Triage and Arrangements features give customers a number of options from start to end of the digital journey and means that firms don’t experience delays in getting customers to the right outcome.

Support Customers who choose a non-digital route

FCA Guidance

Section 2.14 of the guidance asks firms to make sure they can provide support to those customer’s choosing a non-digital route

Embark Solution

Embark’s agent-led journey means that at any point in the workflow the customer can seamlessly move from self-serve to agent-led at the touch of a button. In cases where the customer requests this from the beginning, the agent can complete the Embark workflow with the customer over the phone.

Support Customers at the end of a payment deferral period

FCA Guidance

Section 3.2 re-confirms that firms should take reasonable steps to contact their customers in good time before the end of the payment deferral period.

Embark Solution

Embark’s ‘bulk upload’ feature provides firms with a way of contacting their customers in advance of payment holidays ending and Paylink’s bespoke approach to development means that firms can tailor communications to suit different types of customers, including:

  • Providing information about the next payment due date
  • What the firm should do if the customer indicates that they might continue to face payment difficulties
  • A combination of options, including Digital Triage, Arrangements and Referral to Debt Advice then provides customers with different ways in which they can provide an update to the firm, negating the need to increase agent capacity to cope with the expected increases in call volumes.

Sharing records of completed I&Es

FCA Guidance

Point 5.25 of the new guidance states:

“Where a customer, without prompting or pressure from the firm, makes a proposal to the firm, the firm may put this in place without undertaking an income and expenditure assessment. The firm should make clear to the customer that they can request a review of this arrangement at any time.

“The firm should also contact the customer after 60 days of the arrangement being in place, to confirm whether they require further support or a review of the sustainability of their arrangement (for example, on the basis of an income and expenditure assessment).”

Embark Solution

  • Paylink’s Digital Triage Hub provides a central place where customers can propose details of payments they wish to make, and they can be effectively triaged into the correct outcome for the customer. In some cases, Embark can send an automated request to review the arrangement and gain affordability assessment after this event, where applicable.
  • Customers who’ve completed the Embark journey will already have a downloaded, easy-to-share PDF of their completed I&E if they’re asked to share it. Once more, this means that firms using Embark are in line with the new FCA guidance that not only empowers customers but also allows firms to respond better and more accurately, using less resource during this challenging period.

FCA Guidance

5.34 of the new guidance states:

“The firm should, where possible and within its existing systems capabilities, share a record of any income and expenditure assessment that they complete with customers or make these available to customers (so that they are able to share them with other lenders) and debt advice providers.

Although firms are not required to rely on information collected by third parties, firms should support and encourage customers to re-use up-to-date income and expenditure information previously gathered where possible. For example, an income and expenditure assessment completed by another lender.”

Embark Solution

Embark gives customers a PDF of their completed Income and Expenditure which can be downloaded and shared with other lenders, meaning that firms using Embark are already complying with this new piece of FCA guidance without having to do anything further themselves.

COVID-19

Coronavirus update from Paylink Solutions

At Paylink Solutions, we understand these are worrying times, and everyone is doing their best to look after themselves, family and friends.

During all this uncertainty, we’d like to reassure our clients that we’ve put measures in place to make sure our service continues as normal.

All data is secure and in the event of people having to work from home, a business closure – or needing to access platforms remotely – users will be able to do so from any device, anywhere.

Members of our team are also available to answer all enquiries, and here to help with any concerns.

We’re here to support our clients and their businesses – especially during this challenging period.

From the whole team, we’d like to wish everyone all the best and pass on our encouragement to keep strong throughout this time.

Paylink Solutions seeks finance industry’s thoughts on persistent debt

We’ve launched our first ever Credit Nation survey with Credit Today, which is set to take stock of key issues in the credit industry among practitioners.#

The aim is to kickstart a regular review of the credit industry to assess where the industry has come from, where it is now and, most importantly, where it’s going.

We want to find out what the financial services industry thinks of the FCA’s recent moves to help customers who are deemed to be in Persistent Debt.

Our CEO Susan Rann said: “The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has recently introduced new rules to help credit card customers who are thought to be in persistent debt.

“This new initiative by the regulator involves contacting people who have only been paying the minimum amount every month on their credit cards and subsequently not likely to ever repay the full amount.

“Credit card providers have been instructed to put measures in place to find out whether these customers can increase their payments – or if this isn’t possible, offer them a more suitable solution.

“This is a very interesting move by the FCA, which not only affects customers, but also credit card providers – both operationally and financially.”

We need your help!

If you’re in the financial services industry, we’d really appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete our survey below and let us know your thoughts on persistent debt and how it has affected your business and customers.

“We need data, stats, information, comment and opinion to shape our industry for the future and we hope you can help,” said publishing director Gerard Dugdill “There’s never been a more exciting time to plot our future course. We want to be and will be world class.”

Win an Amazon voucher

To say thank you for completing our survey, we’ll enter you into a prize draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher.

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY

 

Two Paylink ladies shortlisted for Women in Credit Awards!

We’re delighted that two members of our team have been named as finalists at this year’s Women in Credit Awards.

Our CEO Susan Rann is a finalist in the Business Leader of the Year (non-creditor) category and Camille Brown, who is our Customer Success Manager & Product Trainer is in the running for Team Player of the Year.

Susan Rann, our CEO, said: “I am very flattered to be nominated again for this year’s awards, especially as there are so many other high-profile finalists. I am particularly pleased for Camille though who thoroughly deserves the recognition.

“She’s a fantastic asset to the team and has worked tirelessly to provide client training on our software and make sure all business users and their customers are provided with the best Paylink Solutions experience.”

The Women in Credit Awards champion the work of a range of incredible women across the entire credit and financial services industry. After a sell-out event last year, the awards return for its third year to empower, connect, support and uncover achievements among inspirational women in the profession.

We’re now looking forward to the ceremony in London on 19 March 2020.

Paylink Solutions shortlisted for FS Tech Award with NatWest

Paylink Solutions and NatWest have together been shortlisted to win Best Customer Experience at next year’s FS Tech Awards.

This category showcases entrants that have experimented with new ways of getting consumers to sign up for their product or service or used personalisation a process to improve the user-experience even more.

We’ve been shortlisted for the online process it delivered for NatWest, which has transformed the way it helps customers in financial difficulty to get their finances back in order.

This technology has not only improved the NatWest customer experience but is also ensuring more people receive the appropriate help – and free debt advice if required. It has been used by more than 7,500 people since the new tool was launched by NatWest in June 2019.

Susan Rann, our CEO, said: “To be shortlisted for this award is fantastic. The whole team has worked so hard to not only deliver this software, but also provide training and ongoing support to NatWest employees to make sure our digital platform provides the best possible customer journey.

“Being recognised for supporting a major high street bank is testament to everyone at Paylink and a wonderful way to end the year.”

More about the awards

The FS Tech Awards celebrate technology excellence and innovation within the financial services sector. We’re now looking forward to the ceremony in London on 19 March 2020.

Paylink Solutions highlighted in Credit Connect’s Top 20 Company Power List

We’re delighted to have been named as one of Credit Connect’s stand-out companies after being featured in its Top 20 Company Power List, which was published earlier this week.

We’ve enjoyed great success at Credit Connect’s Technology Awards over the past few years and to be named as one of the industry’s top 20 companies just reinforces how highly Paylink Solutions is regarded by its peers. Over the past three years we’ve scooped many awards, including Technology Innovator – Person of the Year in 2019 and the Innovations in Collections and Recoveries award in 2018. We were also runners up for the same Collections and Recoveries award in 2019.

Navdeep Sethi, COO of Paylink Solutions, commented: “It’s wonderful to be recognised as one of the UK’s top 20 technology companies. It’s a great indicator that the industry recognises the capacity and potential of our software to deliver secure and reliable on-boarding and collections solutions. This is further evidenced by our growing portfolio of high street banks, building societies, debt management companies and mortgage brokers.”

Colin White, founder of the Awards and the new Power List said: “The annual guide showcases who is leading the way with innovations. The top 20 companies are a diverse mix of companies, that have enhanced technological innovation.”


About Credit Connect’s Top 20 Company Power List

The Top 20 Company Power list has been compiled from the Credit & Collections Technology Awards results from the past three years. It’s the first time such a list has been published, and moving forward, will showcase companies which have been instrumental in raising industry standards and excellence.

Newcastle Building Society wins national award using Paylink technology

We’re celebrating with Newcastle Building Society after a digital process we delivered for its customers in arrears won a national award.

Michael Conville from Newcastle Building Society and our CEO, Susan Rann, collected the award for Best Debt Management Strategy at this week’s Mortgage Finance Gazette awards.

Newcastle Building Society was the first building society to launch a digital debt help service for customers in financial difficulty, which integrates Open Banking technology.

The tool helps Newcastle Building Society to understand people’s financial position before making arrangements to change mortgage payments. It also provides an accurate and quick alternative to lengthy conversations about a customer’s financial status.

Michael Conville said: “I’m delighted to celebrate with our partners from Paylink Solutions on winning this award. The new digital tool is helping so many of our customers in financial hardship and it’s wonderful this technology has been recognised by the industry. Thank you to Paylink for delivering such a great piece of software.”

Susan Rann said: “The technology we delivered to Newcastle Building Society, which assesses people’s circumstances so accurately means they can be provided with a solution – or referred for debt advice – much more quickly and easily. I’m extremely happy our technology has been intrinsic in winning this award and would like to congratulate Newcastle on its success.”

What the judges said

Judges recognised the innovative use of the Paylink Solutions’ digital I&E tool which engages customers and understands their affordability using CRA and Open Banking data to determine how best to help them.

The ability to seamlessly transfer customers and their data to PayPlan via the tool for free debt advice was also highlighted – and Newcastle was showcased as being a building society which truly goes the extra mile for its members.

About the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards

The Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards celebrate innovation and achievement by lenders and suppliers across the mortgage industry. It celebrated its 150th birthday this year, making the awards very prestigious accolades to win.

Paylink CEO named innovator of the year at prestigious industry awards!

We’re delighted to announce that our very own CEO, Susan Rann, has been named innovator of the year at this year’s Credit & Collections Technology Awards.

The award recognises individuals who have succeeded in leading technological innovation to the industry and Susan was thrilled to receive the accolade after the results were announced at last night’s glittering ceremony.

Susan Rann
Susan Rann

Susan said: “It’s a wonderful achievement to win this award, particularly as I was up against four other well-known and respected finalists. My success is also down to the support of my fantastic team who I would like to thank for working so hard to deliver our software across the credit and collections industry.

“To stand on stage in front of so many of influential figures was incredible, but knowing our software is being acknowledged for its innovation is even better.

“It was a great night, which was enjoyed by me, Navdeep, Paul, and Rich and I can’t wait to add this award to our growing collection in the office.”

The Credit & Collections Technology awards showcase software companies’ products and services, whilst providing an opportunity for collections businesses to view future innovation, assess solutions, focus on customer experience and examine whether specific technology can enhance best practice.

Paylink was also a finalist in the Innovation in Collections & Recoveries category with RBS.

Find out more about our solutions here.

Paylink could collect two more awards at this year’s Collections & Customer Service Awards

The shortlist has been announced for this year’s Credit Strategy Collections & Customer Service (CCS) Awards and we’re thrilled to be finalists in two categories.

We’re in the running to win the Best Technology Provider for Collections and Best Use of Technology categories. This is fantastic news and means we’re now up for five awards in total after being shortlisted for three at the Credit & Collections Technology Awards.

Now in its thirteenth year, the CCS Awards champions outstanding achievements of organisations, teams and individuals working for financial services providers, or central or local government.

Our CEO, Susan Rann, said: “It’s an honour to be shortlisted for not one, but two CCS Awards. We’ve introduced significant developments to our product offering over the past year and our software is improving the collections process for both clients and their customers across the banking and legal sectors.

“Being recognised for our commitment to providing improved affordability, ID confirmation and communication processes for the collections industry is a wonderful achievement for the whole team.”

NatWest uses Paylink Solutions technology to help customers in financial hardship tackle their finances

NatWest has launched a new service, which has been built in partnership with Paylink Solutions, to help reduce the stress and simplify the process that customers who are in financial hardship face when they try to put their finances back in order.

The new online tool will help to significantly cut the time spent populating an income and expenditure form by automating the process through open banking. Previously, customers were required to complete a lengthy, complex document and manually input hundreds of pieces of information.  Automating the process cuts the time it takes from well over 25 minutes to around 5 minutes, whilst also improving accuracy.

Once the online form is complete, customers can verify any information that has been manually input into the system, which can automatically detect and highlight  any unusual spending patterns, for example a mis-keyed phone bill or a misplaced decimal place. NatWest customers are then given the option to speak to a specialist team member over the phone to work out appropriate next steps, such as a repayment plan or referrals to debt and counselling charities. NatWest hopes the new system will encourage more customers to take control of their debt as previously customers reported they were daunted by the long and complex process.

Dave Lowe, Chief Administrative Officer for Personal Banking at NatWest, said: “For any customer in financial hardship, gaining a full understanding of their debts is the first step that needs to be taken to ensure they get the help they need. We’re using open banking technology to take the time, effort and stress out of helping customers take this vital first step so that we can focus on finding a long term solution for their financial problems.”

Susan Rann, CEO of Paylink Solutions, said: “We’re delighted the new online tool is now being used by NatWest customers and are really proud of being able to help those who often feel too ashamed or embarrassed to seek debt advice. We developed NatWest’s solution so customers can access advice 24/7 in a quick and convenient way. This is the start of a great new partnership which will benefit NatWest and its customers through the use of new technology.”