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The Credit Services Association (CSA)
The value of working together
By Colleen Peel, Head of Marketing & Events
Collaboration is a key theme of today’s credit and collections industries. Working together to find collaborative solutions to common challenges is an ambition we all share, and in recent times there have been many examples of where a collective mindset has led to real change. One only has to think of the significant advances made recently in matters relating to money and mental health, treating customers fairly, and managing the most vulnerable in society to see how positive change can come about when the industry puts away its differences, and focuses on a desired, shared and mutually beneficial outcome.
Sharing ambitions, knowledge and insight comes in many forms. It comes through working with the media, and leading publications in helping to share our members’ opinions. It comes through lobbying and reaching those bodies such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) who need the insight of professional trade associations to ensure well-meaning regulatory changes deliver the intended actions and outcomes they are looking for. And it comes from networking with our peers, using local and national conferences and events to share best-practice, and provide the outlet for further discussion and debate.
This year’s UK Credit and Collections Conference (UKCCC), for example, is one such event that provides the opportunity of turning thought into action, and it will be interesting to hear what our keynote speakers, including Jonathan Phelan, Head of Retail Finance & Debt Supervision at the FCA have to say on the progress the credit and collections industry has made over the last 12 months, now that the dust has (largely) settled on the authorisation process.
It will be interesting too to see how the much-hyped talk around Fintech is translating into action and permeating down through the value chain. Technology and innovation is always a popular subject of conversation; new technology gives business a competitive edge as well as streamlining processes, improving efficiencies, and ultimately delivering a better customer experience. But how far have we come? How far advanced are we in areas such as the introduction of new Payment Initiation Services (PIS), and in the broader field of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning that seem to be dominating recent debate? How will Open Banking apply to businesses large and small, and how successful could it be?
Where we know that technology is changing all the time, so too are matters relating to such issues as HR and Compliance, two disciplines that have almost given rise to new ‘industries’ in their own right, and that have certainly been key areas of investment for all those working in financial services. Businesses have certainly been busy recently with the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), although their work is far from complete. Where the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ‘sits’ in the current debate is certainly interesting, as is the ‘next wave’ of regulation – the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) – around which little is currently known but the implications could be significant.
Learning about the regulator’s current priorities, fines, and future challenges will be key to reassuring businesses that they are still on the right track. Learning too about the impact of the much-heralded Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) will be important, as will a debate around the practical impact of Brexit on collections (especially given recent political events) and how our international colleagues at FENCA are developing a new Code of Conduct to meet the challenges of an uncertain future.
The CSA's 2018 UKCCC and Credit and Collections Technology Awards will take place on Thursday 13 September at the newly-refurbished four-star Crowne Plaza in Stratford Upon Avon. Full details can be found at www.ukccc.csa-uk.com. Contact CSA’s Head of Sales, Mark Buckley, for further details on 0191 217 3073 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.