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CML supports new guidance for customers with mental health problems


Published: 20 May 2014 | Author: Bernard Clarke

The CML has given its backing to a new guide published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) and the Money Advice Trust (MAT) on Lending, Debt Collection and Mental Health. The guide, published with the support of the CML and other trade bodies, is intended to help lenders, creditors and debt collectors treat potentially vulnerable customers fairly.

The new guide updates an earlier research study, published by the RCP and MAT in 2010. But the text has been comprehensively re-written to incorporate what has been learned in the last four years about working with customers with mental health problems, as well as to recognise the positive action taken by many creditors and to encourage the dissemination and implementation of good practice.

The key messages for working with customers with mental health problems are summarised in 10 short questions aimed at credit organisations:

  • When lending, are you really complying with law and regulation on mental capacity?
  • Do you have a written policy on working with customers with mental health problems?
  • Does your mental health policy address dealing with more difficult situations, including emotional distress, suicide threats and other ‘learning events’?
  • When a customer discloses a mental health problem, do your staff handle this effectively and legally?
  • When a carer discloses a mental health problem, do your staff handle this effectively and legally?
  • When asking more in-depth questions about mental health, are your specialist staff covering the key points?
  • When working with customers with different mental health problems, are your staff taking these differences into account?
  • Are you collecting medical evidence when you really need to?
  • Are you using the medical evidence you collect?
  • Do you use routine data and monitoring to improve performance and prevent problems?

The guide says that as we move to an era in which increasing attention will be paid to the vulnerability of customers, almost everything that has been learned about working with those with mental health problems can be used to meet this challenge. It says:

 "We recognise that mental health is not a 'job done' – it should continue to be
everyone’s business across the credit industry and its partners in the advice sector. New issues have emerged, and will continue to emerge, and this report addresses some of these."