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In Reference Appointments & Updates

The European non-performing loan (NPL) market reached a new peak in 2018 with disposals totalling €205.2bn in gross book value, according to the new European NPL FY 2018 report, published by Debtwire ABS. The most active country by far was Italy,

which produced half of the total volume of NPL sales. In 2018, Debtwire identified 64 closed NPL sales with a gross book value of EUR103.6bn, almost half of which were via securitisations within the government’s Garanzia sulla Cartolarizzazione delle Sofferenze (GACS) scheme, which runs only until 6 March 2019. “The NPL market has reached a peak

that will not be topped in 2019. This is especially the case in Italy, where the GACS effect will slow down, with most large banks having already taken advantage of the program and now needing to focus on unlikely-to-pay portfolios. Still, with European regulators pushing for banks to dispose of their bad loans quickly, activity will remain consistently intense across the continent,” said Alessia Pirolo, head of NPL coverage, Debtwire.

Mitek has announced that ANNA Money, the business-account app for startups and small businesses, has doubled the speed of its customer on-boarding process and achieved its target of 25% more new customers in the digital channel in just three months – as a result of integrating Mitek’s Mobile Verify digital identity verification. “Our customer base of UK startups, sole

traders and SMEs use our services to help their business cash flow. We support our customers with their financial admin, sending and chasing invoices to facilitate payments – but first, we have to onboard them efficiently and securely, and in compliance with Know Your Customer regulations,” said Daljit Singh, chief design officer at ANNA Money. “Our previous process had roadblocks for

onboarding new customers, and we were seeing abandonment rates climb.”

Rugby union club Harlequins have announced that Qualco UK have been made an official business partner in a deal that runs until 2022.

February 2019

A new body, the Single Financial Guidance Body (SFGB), has been formed to bring under one new organisation the free services delivered by the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service, and Pension Wise. The SFGB is an arms-length-body, sponsored by the

Department for Work and Pensions, with a joint commitment to ensuring that people have access and guidance to the information they need to make effective financial decisions over their lifetime. SFGB chief executive John Govett said: “I am delighted to

John Govett

be leading a new organisation that will offer easier access to the money and pensions information and guidance people need, throughout their lifetimes. As one organisation, we can deliver even more effective services and, through working in collaboration with our partners, can increase the scale and impact of everything we do.”

Christian Jacob, managing director at

Qualco, said: “The Qualco panel engage with our clients’ customers, many of whom are in financial hardship every day, and we work hard to support them in ensuring these customers are treated fairly and offered the best path back to financial health. “We believe financial education should

begin at school to ensure the next generation grow up to manage their money better. “It is this synergy we share with the

Harlequins Foundation, which tackles inequality, poor health and the challenges facing the most vulnerable in society, that made the partnership an obvious choice. We look forward to working together with the club over the next three seasons.”

Slough Borough Council is to become the latest local authority to pass unpaid debts to Intrum in a bid to enhance the experience of residents and raise revenue for the borough. Eddie Nott, UK managing director of

Intrum, said: “Our experience is that a sympathetic approach is more effective than aggressive collections and the use of bailiffs.” “Our team is skilled at contacting people

in debt and working with them to establish their income and expenditure so they can pay back the money they owe in an affordable and sustainable plan. “This approach will return more money to

Slough in the long term, enabling the council to continue to fund essential services for its growing population.”

Responding to Citizens Advice claims that agents are breaking rules and people cannot complain, Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of the Civil Enforcement Association, said: “Once again, Citizens Advice has undermined an on-going government consultation with some poor quality research largely based on the views of 14 advisers and 15 clients. The facts are that the industry complaints process is fair and robust. It involves listening back to calls from customers, reviewing video footage and even interviewing agents. The local authority is often also consulted. After this highly detailed investigation we frequently find that people are not complaining about the agent but about the debt.” “A visit by an enforcement agent is always the last resort. To receive a visit,

Russell Hamblin-Boone

you must have ignored final demands, e-mails, telephone calls and texts. Although complaint levels remain low, we have been developing a new, improved complaints process with a stronger element of independence and expertise, which will give further confidence to any who registers a complaint.” 49

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