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News & blogs: General news

#heretohelp campaign update

21 February 2020   (0 Comments)

The January/February 2020 issue of Credit Management includes a feature on how the industry can encourage greater engagement with customers who are in financial difficulties, and looks at the role of the CSA’s #heretohelp campaign:

Intrum UK Managing Director Eddie Nott says the film tackles the issues that collections teams know worry customers. “We consistently hear from customers how relieved they are to have tackled their financial problems and that they wish they’d picked up the phone earlier. There is still too much fear and embarrassment around debt – if the film can reassure people who are afraid to get in touch that will reduce their distress as well as helping the industry.”

Sue Anderson, Head of Media at StepChange Debt Charity, explains: “The CSA campaign is useful in that it aims to encourage people that, if they are in difficulty and contact their lender, they should expect to be treated sympathetically and positively.”

She adds: “If people have multiple debts with multiple lenders, advice from a reputable debt advice charity is important as it will help them to address their debts in the round, with a holistic view of their financial situation. This goes beyond what is possible for any one individual lender, however helpful they may try to be.”

Jane Tully, director of external affairs at the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, agrees.

“If you are struggling with problem debt it is really important to engage with the organisations you owe money to, or any debt collectors working on their behalf – and any campaign that helps to get this message across is helpful. The CSA’s Here to Help campaign is a useful contribution to increasing engagement,” she says.

“It is important that this campaign is complemented by clear messages around seeking free debt advice – as well as engaging with individual creditors or organisations – so that people in debt receive the holistic advice they need to resolve their wider financial difficulty. There is a broad consensus across #heretohelp campaign update government, the credit industry and the third sector on the need to raise awareness of free debt advice, and we continue to work towards higher awareness and engagement across the board.”

Kevin Shaw, Creditor Engagement Manager at The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), says: “We welcome industry initiatives that encourage people with debt worries to engage with support. Those who engage with their creditors at an earlier stage are more likely to be able to put an affordable repayment plan in place and may avoid the worry that comes with additional charges or creditor enforcement action.”

He adds that the sector is used to catering to the needs of those with multiple debts. “Where someone has multiple debt worries, supportive creditors tend to have referral strategies in place to free and independent debt advice agencies,” he says. “Anyone struggling with debt can also seek free and confidential debt advice via the Money Advice Service debt advice locator tool.”

Steve Coppard, Deputy Director Government Debt Management Function at the Cabinet Office says: “The campaign is really about
connecting the parts, getting people to the right advice at the right time - if we don’t all work together to get people out of debt rather
than getting debt out of people we’re not going to improve as an industry.”

 

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