The FCA launched the borrowers in financial difficulty (BiFD) project in March 2021, with the aim of ensuring firms continue to support borrowers facing financial difficulties. The project covers a range of retail lending products including mortgages, personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts.
Since the launch, the FCA has been monitoring, gathering insight and taking action where it has identified concerns at individual firms. The FCA has now taken the opportunity to reiterate its expectations for the treatment of customers, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and also to set out some of its interim findings.
The FCA considers that the Tailored Support Guidance (TSG) for mortgages, consumer credit and overdrafts continues to provide an appropriate framework for lenders to support customers. The FCA has also seen improvements across a number of firms in relation to training and oversight of staff, which is one of the key areas it previously identified as requiring further attention.
The FCA will continue to engage with firms who risk not meeting the FCA’s requirements, including by asking them to make changes to their policies and processes. The next phase of the project also includes considering whether to make permanent changes to the FCA’s rules and guidance.