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The FCA’s report into the way in which mortgage providers are managing arrears throws up some mixed messages. On the positive side the FCA has identified that action has been taken to address some areas of concern, with providers now placing greater emphasis on the need to treat customers fairly, to offer a wider range of options and to place a greater focus on borrower affordability.
However, the FCA has also identified some continued failings including staff lacking sufficient skills together with rigid processes which follow a ‘one size fits all’ pattern. Top of the failings list is the fact that “cultures which focus on treating customers fairly and delivering good customer outcomes are not always fully embedded at firms.”
The FCA is working with providers to address identified shortcomings and acknowledges that progress has been made to this end. However, the FCA highlights the fact that “Embedding a customer-orientated culture in arrears management is key to achieving good outcomes for borrowers” as it calls on management to exercise leadership and direction to this end. Recommended actions to improve customer outcomes include better training and empowerment for front line staff, managing outsourced providers effectively and improving back office systems.