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FLA wary of credit rules from EU

The Finance & Leasing Association is more optimistic about the chances of getting a slightly better or at least more rational regulatory deal from the new Government than it did with the Labour administration.

Stephen Sklaroff, the FLA director general, told delegates at the association’s consumer finance conference: “We certainly cannot afford to be complacent and the FLA will continue to make the industry’s case constructively, but forcefully.”

The FLA, its members and dealers selling showroom loans are concerned about the impact of an EU regulation governing point-of-sale finance.

Since the election Sklaroff has met new business secretary Vince Cable, other ministers, and officials at the Office of Fair Trading and elsewhere.

He has called on them, when considering any new regulation for consumer credit, to avoid unintended and potentially damaging consequences for lenders and their customers.

Sklaroff said the finance sector was still implementing a huge volume of new regulation created by the last government.

“This comes at a cost, which can reduce availability and affordability to customers,” he said.

He told the conference that some customers are finding it hard to get credit in the regulated markets, raising the risk of financial exclusion and more frequent recourse to loan sharks.

In April the amount of credit granted by FLA members was 9% down year-on-year. The only exception was car finance provided through dealers, which was up by 15%. 

“If we are to avoid the serious social and economic consequences of a smaller, more polarised consumer credit market, a proper balance needs to be struck between consumer protection and maintaining a competitive market,” said Sklaroff.

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