Over the last couple of days, I have been reflecting on “Credit Week” organised by Credit Strategy. As ever, there are always a range of events taking place and I try to get along to as many as possible. The week culminated in the Credit Summit at which I had the pleasure of chairing the alternative lending stream, this gave me a good overview of the topics currently facing lenders and the changes we are seeing in the market.
Before the conference broke into its different streams, there was an economic update from Evan Davis and a panel of politicians discussed policy matters exploring how certain cohorts of customers access credit.
Once the alternative lending stream got underway, it was good to hear from new market entrants about the products they are bringing to market, particularly around banking. In that vein, open Banking was also a much-discussed topic, as to how lenders use the data, but also how customers can be empowered to use their own data. It is an issue that we have discussed in CFA meetings.
What really impressed me was how much of the time was given over to new development and innovation in lending. Indeed, Chris DeBoer from GAIN Credit gave a presentation on marginal gains v “an interesting experiment”.
There were also some interesting presentations around AI and machine learning. And Cyber security was a feature throughout the sessions, as well as Block Chain which popped up in nearly every set of questions.
Clearly alternative lending is looking to the future.
After the alternative lending stream, Jonathan Davidson, Director of Supervision at the FCA addressed conference. He chose to make affordability and culture the focus of his speech.
He talked about the difference between a credit check and an affordability assessment. While a credit check is backward looking, an affordability assessment must consider the borrower’s future. If a firm has established the right culture, this should all be part of treating your customers fairly. He closed by asking lenders to think about innovation and the sustainability of their businesses.
Aside from the Credit Summit conference, I attended the Parliamentary Reception, discussions there focused on the proposals for a more flexible form of breathing space. Further events including the Credit 500 gala. I was delighted to be included as one of the top 50 influencers by Credit Strategy.
And last, but by no means least, the Women in Credit Awards concluded Credit Week. Both CFA staff and members were recognised so it was a great way to finish the week and hugely important initiative which I know Credit Strategy are taking forward
As is often the case, the conference threw up the topics concerning both lenders and other businesses that operate in this space. At the CFA we’ll be making sure that our members are involved and up to speed as the industry continues to move forward.
Jason Wassell, Chief Executive