The Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) and the UK Cards Association have announced the launch of a new research project to help their members identify and support customers in vulnerable circumstances.

The project, to be undertaken by the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre, will focus on identifying the challenges that front-line and collections staff encounter in their day-to-day dealings with such customers, and developing commercially realistic interventions to address these issues.

The project will be led by an expert in the field of mental health and debt, and will run for most of 2016.  The report, expected to be published early next year, will (amongst other things):

  • Provide insights on the practices and challenges faced by staff when working with customers in vulnerable situations.
  • Develop practical and commercially realistic solutions that staff can incorporate into their daily work, and which will support customers who find themselves in a vulnerable situation.
  • Provide a benchmark where the overall sector and individual firms currently ‘sit’ in relation to their work on vulnerability.