by Andy Wallace, Managing Partner

As we head into the final quarter, I thought it would be a good time to recap on 2014.  It’s been an excellent year so far, and we’ve seen a genuine and discernible increase in consumer confidence with more people seemingly willing to commit to ‘big ticket’ purchases. We recently exceeded £10million in loan approvals for week ending 24th August, and we have just achieved it again for week ending 14th September.

It’s also almost six months since the FCA took over responsibility for consumer credit from the Office for Fair Trading (OFT). Everyone should have received a ‘landing slot’ to apply for full permission by now. For some clients, the approval process will start in October — remember, we’re here if you need any help with your application.

The FCA has already shown its teeth, with Wonga, RBS, HomeServe and others receiving substantial fines.  However, with our comprehensive finance training programme we’re committed to helping you establish a culture where your sales representatives present all available credit products to every customer confidently and compliantly during every sales presentation.

I believe that by ensuring customers are fully appraised of every repayment option at the point of sale means they can make more informed decisions about funding their purchases. Taking this approach has also created, in my opinion, the added benefit of more overall consumer credit sales and larger order values for our retail partners. You can read more about Choices of Funding here

In my view, businesses that set out with an intention of treating their customers fairly have nothing to fear from the FCA and, in fact, being authorised will actually increase the prospect of your business being successful. Of the 70,000 businesses that held the old OFT Consumer Credit Licences, only around half are expected to pursue full authorisation with the FCA. So this is a great opportunity for your business going into 2015 – with fewer competitors offering credit – and a massive USP.