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Financial Abuse

It often starts innocently enough, your partner asks to see a receipt for your recent clothes shop, or apologise that he or she opened your bank or credit card statement by mistake. It is not always easy for the abused to recognise when financial abuse is taking place, in the early stages of a relationship it may appear to be part of the usual financial arrangements that couples agree between themselves, many new couples will open joint bank accounts. It is often easier to see the beginning of financial abuse with hindsight. But this can be the start of such habits that can then over time build into more controlling behaviours, which can leave you worried and fearful every time you open your wallet.

Financial abuse can involve your partner spending your jointly-earned money, start making you pay all the home running costs, and scrutinise every penny you spend. It can get worse to the point where your partner will steal your identity and make credit and loan applications in your name having access to your joint bank account and takes the money from the account leaving you to pay the debt. Partner intimidation and financial abuse is without doubt an awful situation to find oneself in, and can be magnified if children are present.

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Vulnerability – it can affect us all!

Vulnerability comes in many forms and is rapidly growing in our society. Thankfully people’s vulnerabilities are far more freely spoken about. There was a time when there was stigma attached to admitting to having any form of vulnerability. As a society, we are growing up and are accustomed to hearing about people’s vulnerability pretty much daily. The media have played their part in bringing daily coverage of celebrities that are freely disclosing various vulnerabilities and it is encouraging to see that this openness has had a positive change in how vulnerability is being addressed and how vulnerable people are being treated. It is definitely a step change in the right direction, but more still needs to be done.

One in four people has a mental disorder at some point in their life

Vulnerability includes many different conditions that can affect any one of us at any time of our lives. It makes our coping skills and resilience feel frail and exposed to detriment if the situation is not handled appropriately by the firms and organisations that provide us all manner of financial services. There is no doubt vulnerability is a key issue within the Boardroom of most firms.

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VRS – Self Registration

The Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS) is pleased to note that the Money Mental Health Policy Institutes report Seeing through the fog published 24 January 2017 identifies some common factors in line with the VRS, its service and thinking.

The MMHPI suggests common ways in which mental health problems might affect a person’s ability to manage their finances along with a simple list of what might help. The MMHPI suggests providing control options to help people resist impulses, including giving cooling off periods and the ability to self-exclude from certain types of spending or new credit applications.

In line with the MMHPI report and suggestions, the VRS allows self-registration to vulnerable consumers who can choose an appropriate, non-descriptive proprietary flag fitting their unique situation, a self- registered vulnerable consumer can choose auto decline or refer flags. The auto-decline flag will allow Users of the VRS service to identify vulnerable consumers who wish to self-exclude themselves from certain types of spending or new credit applications. The VRS refer flag lets Users know that the consumer wishes to be taken out of an automated work flow, in essence given a a cooling off period.

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VRS continues to generate considerable interest

The VRS followed up on its successful launch with another well received appearance at the well-respected Credit Strategy – Collections, Debt Sale and Purchase conference in Manchester on the 24 November 2016.

Helen Lord, co-director of the VRS discussed how the platform will work to delegates at the Collections, Debt Sale and Purchase conference, explaining to delegates how the VRS can help protect consumers and provide organisations with a tool to help deal with and support vulnerable people. The presentation was well received and Helen finished her presentation taking open floor questions. A warm round of applause followed Helen when closing the VRS presentation. Find out more about the Credit Strategy conference at http://creditstrategy.co.uk/ 

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A new vulnerability register for consumer credit

The Vulnerability Registration Service Ltd (VRS) officially launched at the Consumer Credit Trade Association’s (CCTA) Going Forward conference in Nottingham on the 2 and 3 November 2016.

Vulnerability is at the heart of many creditor’s agenda’s right now and in a timely fashion the Vulnerability Registration Service has been created with plans to launch in the New Year.

The VRS is an independent private sector initiative with the purpose of protecting consumers and provide organisations with a tool to help deal with vulnerable people. The VRS is run by seven co-directors who all have backgrounds in the consumer credit market. Vulnerable customers will use the platform to record their personal circumstances when they are looking to protect themselves from further debt or related financial problems.

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