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Responsible lending

Our commitment

At first direct we are committed to lending in a responsible way, because quite simply, we feel this is the only fair way to lend. Treating customers fairly is at the heart of our organisation and this means designing products that give you value, understanding your needs, ensuring the way we do business with you is transparent and generally helping you to make informed choices. first direct subscribe to the Lending Code and are committed to Responsible Lending.

To find out more, visit the Lending Code website at www.lendingstandardsboard.org.uk

Our bit - What we will do

Before we lend you money or increase your overdraft we like to be certain you can afford to repay it, meaning 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 may increase your outgoings or reduce your disposable income then please give us a call on 03 456 100 199 for further guidance.

Changes to consider are:

  • employment situation changes; imminent retirement, maternity or paternity or extended leave
  • reduction in working hours; fixed contracts end dates or zero hour contracts
  • increase in living costs; rent or mortgage repayments.

Deciding what's best is a tricky business, so we look at many pieces of information and use a variety of techniques to help us make the right decision. That means things like Credit Scoring, Credit Reference Agency data and your history with us.

But it's not just a case of putting a load of information into a computer, pressing a button and getting a 'computer says yes' or 'computer says no' decision - 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 will always provide clear information at appropriate points and will keep you fully informed. If you have a mortgage with us that is in arrears, re-possession will be a last resort only after we have 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 will usually be because we are trying to protect your financial health or it is too risky. And if we can't help you, we'll always tell you why.

Your bit - Take responsibility

We like lending money and we're unapologetic about it. We've said that we'll be responsible but you've obviously got responsibilities too. So, before you ask to borrow money or increase your overdraft, it's worth thinking about your own circumstances.

  • Can you afford to repay the borrowing?
  • 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 happy - and we'd be irresponsible if we didn't encourage you to think about it.

And if we say no, it's because we think it's for the best - 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.


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