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Responsible lending

Our commitment

At first direct we're committed to lending in a responsible way. Treating customers fairly is at the heart of our organisation and this means offering value, understanding your needs, being transparent and generally helping you to make informed choices. We subscribe to the Lending Code and are committed to responsible lending.

To find out more, visit the Lending Code website.

What we do

Before we lend you money or increase your overdraft, we like to be sure you can afford to repay it, so you're always in control of your money. For a loan that means we want to make sure you can afford your borrowing over the whole term of the loan.

If you can foresee changes in your circumstances that might increase your outgoings or reduce your disposable income then please give us a call on 03 456 100 199 (available 8am to 10pm, seven days a week) for friendly guidance.

Changes to consider:

  • employment changes - imminent retirement, maternity or paternity or extended leave
  • reduced working hours - fixed contracts end dates or zero hour contracts
  • increased living costs - rent or mortgage repayments.

We look at a great deal of information and use a variety of techniques to help us make decisions about lending - things like credit scoring, credit reference agency data and your history with us.

But it's not just a case of putting information into a computer, pressing a button and getting a yes or a no - just as we have real people answering your calls, so we have real people using their judgement, experience and skill to make a genuine assessment of your ability to repay.

If we do lend you money we'll always provide clear information at appropriate points. If you have a mortgage with us that's in arrears, repossession will always be a last resort, and only after we've exhausted all other attempts to reach an agreement with you. We don't like to turn people away, so if we decide not to lend money to you, it'll usually be because it's for the best. And if we can't help you, we'll always tell you why.

You need to be responsible too

We're not your mum - we're your bank. Before you ask to borrow money or increase your overdraft, you have a responsibility to think about whether it's a good idea.

  • can you afford to repay the money?
  • what happens if your lifestyle changes and you find yourself with less income or more costs?
  • what happens if interest rates increase?

We're not trying to put you off, but we both need to be confident - and we'd be irresponsible if we didn't ask you to think about it.

If we say no, there'll be a good reason, so while it might be tempting to try to borrow the money elsewhere, it might not be the right thing to do. Always bear in mind the potential risks and the long-term damage it might do to your financial health.