The finance news trundles on, each day offering something new which, for most going about their day, is irrelevant beyond the headline. Excepting when someone decides they’re ready to make their move with a lender, the comings and goings of finance worlds don’t come near the reality check news of un-imagined tragedy.
The headlines create a headline effect and contribute to headline risk which, in the lending world is fuelled by headline rates. The affect is that products’ Terms are constantly on the move with consequential topsy-turvy decision making at some lender ‘headquarters’. Frustrated customers are kept in the dark, given declines with a pat on the head, ‘nothing personal, we’re just very picky’ and, a usual reason trotted out, ‘we’re mitigating potential risk’.
I understand the necessity for shrouding IT and data like a Spook but when lenders treat their potential customers like 007 being recruited out of retirement but give little away in exchange for background checks about products (to know what we’re up against, other than headline rates and a basic criteria list), I can be found wearing a facial expression like confused emoji. I’m not talking about lenders exposing every minutia of their policy analysis but, it’s not a good start with those whose first base Application is ambiguous.
I appreciate the predator of money is risk, so much so everyone must be vigilant and ground rules need to be established but, to function properly in mitigating risk, some lenders need to practice what they preach. It’s blindingly obvious what someone doesn’t want you to know, they’ll have their reasons, and they won’t tell. Lenders expect customers to be transparent; lenders need to be so too.
Sharing extremely personal information, exposing their lifestyles, plans and personal details, Applicants deserve to be treated with dignity by lenders’ processing, which is something I fear is increasingly lacking, along with decent On-Hold music – I find myself hoping that irony will have leeched and the distinctive tones of Rag’N’Bone Man will one day greet me: ‘Don’t ask my opinion. Don’t ask me to lie… Thinking I can see through this and see what’s behind. I’m only human after all’ For all the claims made on websites, understanding, in practice can frustratingly still be found void in some quarters.
The problem is a mix of regulation, practice and culture, fuelled by ignorance, arrogance and cauterized communication. Why does this matter? Well it doesn’t to those lenders who take an interest in their working practices, those who work together for the best customer outcome, those who have no need for a specialist advisor and those who can understand the context beyond the headlines.
Distinguishing fair from unfair can only happen when fully informed, so, it matters to knowledge gaps and information gaps that inform outcomes. Increasingly I find myself explaining to someone why their status is deemed by a lender as ‘strained’: that’s when it matters.
In general, transparency is a good thing – Understanding is not an inconvenience.