Posts Tagged ‘training’

New Lending Code 6: mental health, specialist staff

November 13, 2009

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

The new Lending Code is here
The MALG 2007 submission to the review of the code is here
And the Treasury Select committee view is here