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Credit Week wraps up with calls for more action on vulnerability and open banking

The first ever fully interactive broadcast Credit Week, sponsored by Experian, has just wrapped this afternoon, closing with a panel urging for the accelerated use of open banking to help vulnerable customers.

The panel was the last of multiple sessions covering lending, credit risk and collections issues, in a week where creditors and economists mapped out how the industry can support consumers facing economic turmoil.


Steve Coppard, deputy director government debt management function in the Cabinet Office, joined a panel on using open banking to help the most vulnerable. Coppard said he could “absolutely” see a time in the future where open banking is used at the front end of government applications to ensure vulnerable customers get the support they need.


The open banking and vulnerability session, held during the Open Banking Conference sponsored by Equifax and AccountScore, ended the opening week of the Credit Festival.


Throughout Credit Week, experts at a four-day Credit Summit shared views on the economic headwinds both immediate and coming up in the next view months.


Evan Davis opened the Credit Risk and Collections Conference, sponsored by FICO, with an economic address.


He told the audience: "The big choice we are making as a country, and as a world, is how much of our future we are going to take away in order to bail out the present. That’s what credit is all about. That is the choice Rishi Sunak is making every day in deciding how much debt to take on, to throw at the problems we face right now. The risk of making ourselves poorer over the next two decades, to bail out the present, is clear cut. This is the largest economic wipe out most of us have lived through, but it’s temporary.


"Imagine over the course of Covid, the goverment has to spend £500bn. That’s realistic, but it’s a quarter of annual GDP; that’s the scale of the hole left by Covid."


At a financial inclusion panel chaired by Davis, it was discussed that lenders may have to think about new ways of assessing affordability, and the need to reassess whether the rapid speed of decision-making may come at the cost of thoroughness.


It was highlighted that, with the economic outlook as it is, lenders may also have to think about a new test, whereby they ask ‘how resilient is this customer?’ before making decisions on credit-worthiness.


Highlights from the Trade Credit Conference on Wednesday, co-hosted by Sue Chappell, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management, included a presentation from David Fisher, global oil credit manager at Shell, on how the company managed credit risk challenges before and the during the collapse of Thomas Cook.


During the same conference, in a panel on how customers will be supported through economic turbulence, Cyrille Sallé de Chou, CRO for HSBC retail banking and wealth, revealed that HSBC had not planned for a second lockdown. He said: “The start of 2021 is going to be difficult, but beyond this we do expect the economy to recover.”


Frances Haque, chief economist at Santander, delivered an economic update, which discussed the likelihood of negative rates in the UK economy. Her projections concluded that this would be unlikely to happen until midway through 2021, by which point it is hoped that the economy would be strong enough to avoid negative rates.


In a presentation at the Credit Risk & Collections Conference, entitled getting culture right for collections, Carlos Osorio, director for debt recovery at TDX Group, said: "Bad culture invariably leads to bad processes and bad customer outcomes." He added: “We need to permanently replace the words debt collection with debt resolution.”


Credit Strategy was inundated with a multitude of positive comments on Credit Week.


Mark Thundercliffe, group CRO at Virgin Money, said: "My thanks to Luke Broadhurst and the magnificent team for an amazing high quality production throughout the Credit Festival and the professional standards the Credit Strategy team have displayed throughout. Great job!"


Denise Crossley, chief executive of Lantern - sponsor of the Alternative Lending Conference, said: "Well done Credit Strategy for organising such a great and professionally run event at the Alternative Lending Conference. Thoroughly enjoyed taking part and proud of Lantern to once again sponsor the event."


Atul Vadher, transaction manager at Gazprom Energy commented on "excellent sessions" at the Trade Credit Conference.


Wayne Whitford, director of Court Enforcement Services, said: "Well done Credit Strategy for organising such a great event at such a difficult time."


Credit Strategy would like to again thank our sponsors of Credit Week: Experian, Lantern, Equifax, AccountScore, aire, Court Enforcement Services, Alphera Financial Services, CSA, EQ Credit Services, Illion Digital Tech Solutions, LendingMetrics, MERJE, MaPS, Money Advice Trust, Paylink Solutions, Phonexa, Qualco, Telrock, VCC Live, Western Union, Hometrack, Mr Lender, Menzies, Bamboo Loans, Chartsbridge, Ardent Credit Services and Lowell.

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