Today’s publication of the Woolard Review has set out an ambitious pathway to building a healthier consumer credit market and highlights the responsibility of the whole financial services system to work together to make this happen.
We are pleased to see important recommendations on increasing access to and availability of affordable credit, calling for
- mainstream banks and financial services providers to use their expertise and economies of scale to better serve customers in the “non-prime” market, by offering alternatives to high-cost credit. The Review proposes that Fair4All Finance, the FCA and HM Treasury should convene mainstream lenders to discuss their role in this market
- the FCA and Fair4All Finance to work together on improving awareness of affordable credit, including looking at regulatory barriers
- measures to support the growth of community finance providers, including reform of credit union legislation and increasing CDFI capacity through investment incentives or subsidies
We are delighted to accept the recommendations for Fair4All Finance and are committed to working with the FCA, government and industry to take them forward.
In response to the Review, the government has today announced plans to bring Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) products under FCA regulation. This will benefit consumers by requiring BNPL firms to make proper affordability checks and treat customers in vulnerable circumstances fairly – and also give consumers access to the Financial Ombudsman Service when things go wrong.
The Review includes other wide-reaching recommendations to support consumers across the credit market, proposing that the FCA take a outcomes-focused approach to regulation that looks across the whole life of a product. It makes welcome calls for an increase in the supply of debt advice, remedies for the “broken” IVA market and improvements in the credit scoring system.
Sacha Romanovitch, CEO of Fair4All Finance said:
“We are excited by the recommendations in the Woolard Review and we’re determined to play our part in making them happen.
“The Review has raised the bar in its swift collaboration across multiple stakeholders and has arrived at recommendations that are both impactful and that will have the support of a broad spectrum of the financial services and social sectors.
“Fair4All Finance are committed to turning these recommendations into concrete changes which will improve the lives of millions of people in vulnerable circumstances across the country.
“We’ve seen an explosion in the popularity of unregulated Buy Now Pay Later credit in the last year, which risks pushing people into debt they can’t afford, and we’re pleased to see quick action on this.
“But millions of people are still excluded from accessing affordable credit. Together we must transform the credit market and make it work for everyone – regardless of their circumstances. We’d love to hear from anyone who can help make these important changes happen.”