This Code of Practice (“the Code”) sets out the standards of business practice for employees of Creative Funding Solutions Limited, its partners and representatives. The Code should be read in conjunction with the Code of Practice of the NACFB. The Code is published by Creative Funding Solutions Limited of the United Kingdom, Bramber House, 3 Amberley Court, Whitworth Road, County Oak Way, Crawley, RH11 7XL. Telephone 01293 127377. Copies are available free of charge. (A larger print version can be made available on request).
Creative™ first launched a 7- page Consumer Code of Conduct in 2014, based on the Consumer Credit Association Code of Practice published in 2013 and supported by the Financial Conduct Authority (“the FCA”). By this time the regulator had already raised standards within the High Cost Short Term Credit and Home Credit Industries and was regarded as an effective regulator licensing the majority of those engaged in the consumer credit market.
Authorisation by the FCA is mandatory and although compliance with our Code is technically entirely voluntary on our part nevertheless the legal obligations contained within it are principled standards fulfilling our licensing requirements as prescribed by law.
Association with the Creative™ group is strictly controlled and granted at the sole discretion of the Compliance Director, subject to meeting strict criteria which includes a full and frank disclosure and background checks. Compliance with the Code is mandatory for all employees and associates, including probationary colleagues. The Board has the power to discipline or terminate employees and relationships as a result of poor conduct or at the end of a probationary period if they have not met the criteria for full compliance with the Code.
Adherence to the Code is intended to ensure that all associates of the Creative™ Group deliver a consistently high standard of customer service and a key benefit of adherence is the ability to retain and cultivate consumer relationships in an atmosphere of integrity and trust.
Discipline has always been part of the Code and colleagues are subject to the ultimate sanction of dismissal, which has never had to be used in the past, under the Disciplinary Rules of the Company. There are due processes set in the Code for the protection of consumers, for employees and for the Company as a whole.
The main focus of the Code is Consumer Credit. Under this lending system we seek as brokers to facilitate third party agreements for finance.
Customers should be aware that although this Code binds our staff they also have a role to play. They should ensure that:
Each colleague or representative shall:
1.1 Comply with this Code of Practice.
1.2 Conduct business lawfully and comply with all relevant legislation
(including the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007) and judicial decisions.
1.3 Have appropriate regards to all applicable guidance.
1.4 Act with care in the day-to-day conduct of business.
1.5 Be provided with adequate training so that they carry out their duties in accordance with this Code and all applicable legal requirements.
1.6 Follow where appropriate requests conveyed to them by the Compliance Director from the regulatory authorities.
1.7 Notify the Compliance Director of any matters coming to their attention about others that might adversely affect the reputation of the Company or the sector.
1.8 Fully co-operate with the Company at all times in the discharge of its functions under the regulatory umbrella of the FCA, including permitting the Compliance Director access to premises and records during business hours, upon the giving of reasonable notice, to undertake routine compliance checks or investigate any compliance issue brought to the Company’s attention.
1.9 Provide a copy of this Code free of charge to any customer who requests it, in an appropriate and accessible format.
Each colleague or representative shall:
2.1 Marketing and Advertising
iii) complies with all relevant legislation and has regard to all relevant guidance;
(b) Ensure the guidelines in relation to Selling by Electronic Communication are followed (see Appendix A).
2.2 Refusal of Credit
(a) Ensure that where a customer is refused credit and makes it clear that he/she believes the refusal to be unreasonable and requests it, is given the name of a manager within the business by whom the process of application may be reviewed.
(b) Where credit is refused on the basis of information from a credit reference agency, ensure that the customer is advised of this when told of the refusal and provide details of how to challenge adverse information held against them if asked.
2.3 Home Visits
No Home Visits are to be made until the customer has been given the opportunity to review any potential finance agreement and has indicated that they wish to proceed, unless a request to visit has been received in writing from the customer.
2.4 Credit Worthiness & Adequate Explanations
(a) Before granting credit or hire facilities (or increasing the amount of credit under an existing facility), colleagues must take reasonable and proportionate steps:
(i) to carry out a reasonable and proportionate affordability assessment (taking into account, for instance, the type of credit being provided, the size of the loan and other relevant circumstances) to assess the customer’s ability to repay;
(ii) to ensure that customers are not provided with credit or hire facilities that are clearly unsuitable for their needs and circumstances;
(iii) to ensure that customers are provided with adequate explanations before the agreement is made.
(b) Colleagues must take particular care in the case of loan applications
from customers where they know or are made aware that those customers have special requirements (paying particular attention to Section 3 below) and provide additional information and guidance in a form that the customer can understand.
2.5 Credit Brokerage
(a) Take reasonable steps to ensure that any Introducer Appointed Representative (IAR) or agent used will not impose any pressure on the customer to enter in to a loan.
(b) Before accepting business from any IAR for the first time:
(c) Monitor generally the activities of all dealers from whom business is accepted and in particular:
2.6 Documentation: Terms & Conditions and Pre Contract Disclosures(SECCI)
(a) Where required in all credit and hire transactions use:
(i) pre-contract disclosure in the form required by law, namely as SECCI (Standard European Consumer Credit Information);
(ii) lending agreements that comply with all relevant legislation.
(b) Inform customers:
(i) Of the Company’s consumer credit authorisation and licence number;
(ii) That compliance with this Code of Practice is mandatory;
(iii) Of the contact details of the Company and the Financial Ombudsman Service
(c) Ensure that all communications with the customer are easily intelligible and, in particular, provide clear statements of terms and conditions under credit and hire agreements subject to using prescribed wording stipulated by law.
(d) Provide documents and copies of documents at a time and in a format as statutorily required to do so.
2.7 Credit Protection Insurance
Never to offer Credit Protection Insurance.
(a) Take care to ensure that any merchandise supplied to customers is of satisfactory quality and suitable for the purpose for which it is sold. If any merchandise is found within 30 days not to comply with these standards the customer can in some circumstances:
(i) have the merchandise replaced or repaired promptly by the supplying dealer; or
(ii) have the cost of the merchandise credited in part promptly by the supplying dealer; or
(iii) have the finance agreement rescinded and any deposit, initial payment or interest paid returned.
(b) Not with standing 2.8 (a) the customer is requested to deliver the vehicle to a place of our choosing or make it available for collection by us following exercise of their right to reject under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, in any case where the supplying dealer disputes their right to reject.
2.9 Information about Accounts
Comply promptly with all statutory and other reasonable requests by customers for information about their agreements and accounts, supplying where necessary copies of documentation and statements of account in an easily intelligible form (or otherwise using wording prescribed by law).
(a) Keep in strict confidence any information about the customer except where disclosure is authorised by the customer or permitted or required bylaw.
(i) The Data Protection Act 1998;
(ii) The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
Members should ensure that extra care and guidance is provided to those customers who they know to have:
(i) a disability;
(ii) poor literacy skills;
(iii) limited or impaired mental capacity.
4.1 We have appropriate and effective internal procedures for dealing with all customer complaints in accordance with the steps laid down by this Code (see Appendix B), and comply with rules or standards laid down by the Financial Ombudsman Service (“FOS”).
4.2 These complaints procedures must be disclosed to customers in full
and in writing, at the point-of-sale as well as in the pre-contractual and contractual material given to customers, and must include:
(i) Full contact details for the complaints service;
(ii) Any reasonable information customers must provide, which must not involve excessive detail or form-filling;
(iii) A reasonable timescale in which complaints will be dealt with, including a timescale for its resolution;
(iv) Details of available methods of alternative dispute resolution in the event that the member is unable to satisfy the customer.
4.3 These procedures must state clearly that in addition to the internal complaints procedure, the customer has the right to refer any dispute to the FOS after eight weeks. We will ensure that we do not in any way lead customers to believe that any internal complaints procedure is a substitute for a complaint to the FOS, nor should colleagues in any way discourage customers from exercising their right to take their complaint to the FOS.
4.4 We will ensure that all our relevant staff and agents are trained in the steps they must take to handle customer complaints in accordance with this Code.
5.1 Colleagues must comply fully with this Code of Practice and its Appendices. Any instance of non-compliance shall be drawn to the attention of the colleague concerned. The Compliance Director has the power to adjudicate and to take action against noncompliant colleagues and agents, including but not limited to censure, retraining, termination and dismissal.
5.2 The Company shall monitor compliance with this Code and outcomes for customers on an ongoing basis and may produce an annual report on its findings.