New FCA Permissions Replace Consumer Credit Licences

Saturday, 7. February 2015

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

If you work in the finance industry you have probably been involved in debates and discussion over the last 12 months regarding some of the biggest changes to the consumer credit industry since the introduction of Hire Purchase in the 60’s. If you are a lender, broker, dealer or consumer (this includes small businesses that are small partnerships or sole traders) life will never be the same again.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

The Government passed over administration of the Consumer Credit Act from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in April 2014. Since then confusion has reigned. I’m not going to talk about the affect on the lenders and the brokers but you need to understand the potential detrimental affect on you as a customer.

In the past when a dealer, broker, shop or anyone else had to provide advice on finance they had to hold a Consumer Credit Licence. It was a totally meaningless piece of paper, we all knew that, as long as you didn’t have a criminal record or were an undischarged bankrupt you could apply for and be granted a licence. It was simple but actually meaningless.

So when the FCA took over and changed the system from a single licence with a number of categories such as credit broking, debt collection, debt advice etc. we now have a three tier system, named Full Permission, Limited Permission and Appointed Representative. It was all beginning to look good, at last there was a body to police the consumer credit industry that might get rid of a large number of crooks and ensure that new entrants and even those already providing advice were properly qualified.

However, the opposite seems to be happening. In order to apply for permission brokers and dealers will need to spend a lot of money, not only in application costs but ongoing administration and reporting costs. This will result in some smaller used car dealers withdrawing their finance offering because the new regulations are far too complicated for them to understand.

It will also cause some brokers to withdraw for similar reasons so you as a customer will have less choice. It also means that the cost of being regulated will increase sharply so those costs will be reflected in the finance charges. On the other hand brokers who offer commercial finance to limited companies, i.e. non consumers are also being encouraged to apply for Full Permission.

I find this approach by trade bodies and lenders obnoxious. These companies with little or no experience of consumer finance will be able to provide customers any consumer product they wish from personal loans to HP and buy to let mortgages. It’s a disgrace, these brokers should never be given Full Permission but if recent history is anything to go by every applicant will be granted Full Permission with very few rejections.

Sounds like Consumer Credit Licences all over again. If you are currently considering various car finance options make sure that you are talking to someone who is properly qualified. By Graham Hill

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