Features | 09/02/22

As 2022 gets properly gets underway, I am celebrating my first year completed in the role of Chief Executive of the CCTA. It has been an unusual year with the pandemic, but I am pleased to say that the numbers have remained strong, and we have managed to introduce a series of changes. So, I should start by thanking our small but perfectly formed team – Lucy, Phill and Brian. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to make any progress. Through them, we have undertaken a review of many of our systems and processes.

Just as we closed the year, we saw the departure of Helen McCarthy who had been our Head of Policy. I worked with Helen for a number of years, and she had a specialism in alternative lending that helped us considerably. I know that she also provided advice to some members.

I am pleased to say that we have a new Head of Policy and Advice, ready to join us once they have completed their notice period. I will provide more information when it is appropriate.

We were keen to move forward with some changes to the way we engage our members. With such a spread of members, it is never going to be perfect, but we have had some ideas about how we might improve the flow. The objective is to set in place some regular communications and then supplement with more targeted information.

In this way we can work across the sectors, sharing experience from different elements of consumer credit but also ensure that you have insights that are more specific to your needs.

Our CCTA events are important channels for this communication. The plan is that we create a pattern of four all-member events every year – three Summits and an Annual Conference.

It was great to use the opportunity in between lockdowns to have our first physical meeting since 2019. We had a great response, and the content was informative and insightful. So, I take the opportunity to thank our panellists Paul Smith, Peter Reynolds, and Denise Crossley. I know from your response, that many of you enjoyed the chance to ask questions and raise issues.

Of course, Covid-19 has made this much more difficult than we had expected. However, the experience of operating during a pandemic has also shown us that we can use online facilities. I think you will see more online events during this year, including workshops and roundtable events.

Our most important physical event will be our Annual Conference in late April. As you can tell, the pandemic made us stop and think about the venue as well as the timing. We moved away from some traditions that had served us well, but that we wanted to now change. We have already had a good response. You will read elsewhere of the support that we have had from a number of firms in the form of sponsorships.

Returning to our mission. A way in which CCTA members differ is their engagement with our advocacy work. A core reason for having a trade association is to be reassured that this is our “day job” and that we are constantly acting as an advocate for members, talking to regulators and pushing our position with other individuals that can help influence.

Many of you will have seen that we are working across a range of issues, from raising our concerns about the impact of regulation on alternative lenders to the financial cost of the current wave of affordability complaints.

At the core of this activity is creating relationships with a range of organisations and individuals. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service are obvious. We are also keen to look further afield.

Some of our members are happy to leave this work to us, there will be others that are keen to be part of our campaign work or to provide additional funds so that we have the resources required. Whatever your level of engagement, I want to take the opportunity to thank all of our members. Your help and support are greatly appreciated.

One source of support throughout last year was my predecessor Greg Stevens, who stepped away from the CEO role but continued to provide help as our Chair. You can imagine that he has been my sounding board and also ensured continuity. He retires from the CCTA with my best wishes.

Looking ahead to 2022, many of the projects that we started last year will continue. We have already held meetings with the FCA and Treasury to discuss the big issues.