New Lending Code 6: mental health, specialist staff

177. If a subscriber has specialist staff to deal with cases of debt and mental health problems, they should ensure that appropriate mechanisms exist to refer the customer to the appropriate support. [Reproduced with the kind permission of the British Banking Association -see link below]

This is an excellent emphasis on the need to have training to deal with mental health issues, and indeed other issues of vulnerable customers. But the idea that staff who are not trained should deal with them is not a good position.

The mental health field is vast, and understanding the effects and potential effects of particular disorders requires considerable attention. Even more important is the question of the effects of the stress of harassment which is more or less normal in collection procedures and creditor behaviours.

The great value of this section is the fact it has been introduced to the code, which removes the prior behaviour. That behaviour consists mainly of a challenge as to its truth, should anyone reveal to the agent that there are mental health problems.

This discourages the more timid or, for example, any debtor in depression or – as is normal – in shock, from revealing the need for great care to be taken. Apart from the effect being counter-productive to the purpose of collection departments, it can have serious effects in deepening a mental condition.

So I hope there will be strenuous efforts to ensure all in the credit field observe both the letter and the spirit of this new entry into the code.

Joseph Harris, Debt Control Man
Author: Control Your Debt Crisis on Your Own Terms
http://www.controlyourdebtcrisis.co.uk

The new Lending Code is here http://www.bba.org.uk/bba/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1758
The MALG 2007 submission to the review of the code is here http://www.moneyadvicetrust.org/download.asp
And the Treasury Select committee view is here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmtreasy/274/27406.htm#a18

 

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: