Leek United want to help you to identify if your customer is vulnerable. Protecting vulnerable customers should be a key priority for any firm and it’s important that you are aware of vulnerabilities in order to recognise if your customer needs further help and support throughout the mortgage application process.
Customer vulnerabilities can be very different and stem from different causes, it's important that in each case, fair treatment is given to those who are vulnerable to ensure that the customer fully understands the choices that they make.
The FCA’s definition of a vulnerable customer is ‘someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to detriment, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care.’
Vulnerabilities can differ depending on a customer’s circumstances, whether it be ill health, a life event or other factors. Vulnerabilities can be temporary or permanent and it is important to understand that a customer can become vulnerable at any stage in their life.
Further guidance can be found from the 'Customer Vulnerability' FCA report, which aims to provide help for identifying and supporting vulnerable customers. The report also covers key areas for firms to explore, please click here.
Your customer may wish to have a close family member or friend present who can help to guide them through the interview process.
If you have identified that your customer is vulnerable the following steps may help you to support them, however we understand that vulnerabilities can take different forms and you may need to adapt your approach to cater to each customer's personal needs. These steps are a guide and should not be seen as advice.
It is important that your customer is allowed sufficient time to reflect on their options. Your customer may need additional time to fully consider your recommendation before they proceed.
2. Friends or family:
Your customer may wish to have a close family member or friend present who can help guiding them through the interview process. Please note that this may not be suitable for everyone and you should be vigilant to any signs that a potentially vulnerable customer is being coerced into a decision that may not be in their best interest.
3. Power of attorney:
Your customer may not be aware of the options that exist for Power of Attorney. For customers who feel that they can no longer make financial decisions by themselves, it may be worth discussing the benefits of having Power of Attorney in place*. Further information can be obtained from the NHS website.
Please note that if your customer is not able to understand the information or advice provided to them, under no circumstances should you proceed with the sale.
If your customer would like any of Leek United's documents in large print, audio or braille, please let us know and we can arrange this for you.
Helpful advice and support is available from many organisations and charities.
We have collated some of them below to help you:
*Please note that Leek United do not lend on cases where a Power of Attorney is in place.