The FLA has two Codes of Practice, the Business Finance Code for asset finance and the Lending Code for consumer and motor finance. The Codes require members to deal fairly and responsibly with their customers.
The FLA Lending Code is for customers who have taken out a consumer credit loan with an FLA member, no matter how much it is worth. The Code gives customers more rights than those provided by law.
It sets out standards of good practice in consumer lending. It is intended to provide assurance to customers that they may buy with confidence from lenders who are members of the FLA. Member companies are bound by the Code at all times in their dealings with borrowers.
The Code is monitored by an independent group made up of independent consumer representatives and a selection of finance houses that subscribe to the Code. Each FLA member has a code compliance officer and internal auditing procedures that ensure they comply with the Code.
The Lending Code 2012
2012 is a special year for the Code – it is now 20 years old.
The first FLA Lending Code was written in 1992 and was based on the Finance Houses Association Code, which had been in operation for five years. The first review of the new FLA Code took place in 2000, and it strengthened consumer protection provisions. Similar reviews were carried out in 2002, 2004 and 2006 – this last revision incorporated changes made by the Consumer Credit Act 2006.
But following 2006, there were five years of constant change in consumer credit regulation: The Consumer Credit Directive, and its associated statutory instruments writing it into UK law; the OFT’s Irresponsible Lending Guidance; and new credit and store card measures.
The Lending Code 2012, which was launched on 1 February 2012, takes into account all this regulatory change, as well as changes in the FLA membership. New sections have been inserted to cover lenders’ obligations to consumers for new financial products, for example, for short term credit. And from 2012, the FLA plan to update the Lending Code every year, where necessary, to ensure that new credit regulations are included, and that the Code remains the best in the industry at protecting consumers.
If your complaint is regarding credit you took out prior to 1 February 2012, you will need to refer to the Lending Code that was in force at the time you took the loan out. Please visit the FLA Publications page, where you will be able to download previous versions of the Code. If your loan was taken out after 1 February 2012, then you should refer to the current Code version, available below.
If you want to make a complaint against an FLA member company regarding a breach of the Lending Code, please see the FLA complaints page. This will give you information on the complaints process, and allow you to subit your claim to the FLA team online.
For other information about aspects of your loan, your credit record or debt advice, you can also find related publications, which give your further information, such as Paying Your Loan Early, Credit Searches, Credit Repair, Debt and Mental Health and Motor Finance.
Please note that the FLA cannot award compensation or make a decision about your complaint.
The FLA does not provide legal advice under any circumstances. If you require legal advice you should contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, Trading Standards Office or a Solicitor.