Between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016, we received nearly 37,000 applications for authorisation from consumer credit firms. We aim to allocate cases as quickly as possible and have already closed 87% of these applications – 99.6% within the statutory deadline.
A number of cases (118 closed cases) breached the deadline during this period. There are also around 200 open applications which have not been determined within 12 months. Unless there are significant changes to the applications (for example an application becomes invalid), these will be reported as a breach once they are closed. However, we estimate that nearly 99% of all applications closed by the end of September 2016 will be determined within the statutory deadline.
We took the decision to prioritise applications from new entrants, as firms with interim permission are able to continue trading, whereas new to market firms had to be authorised in order to begin trading.
The length of time taken to determine applications can be impacted by a number of factors, including the number of complex cases from higher risk sectors, such as the commercial debt management and high-cost short-term credit sectors, or how incomplete an application is when it is submitted.
When a firm applies for authorisation their application is allocated to a case officer. The case officer will then contact the firm to introduce themselves and explain how they can be contacted.
We have received feedback from some firms and industry bodies that the process could be improved by more contact from a case officer in the early stages of application and by receiving additional updates on the progress of their application.
Following this feedback, we have introduced the following commitments to firms applying for authorisation.
1. We will tell you as soon as your application has been assigned to a case officer. All communication about your application will be handled by this person. If it subsequently proves necessary to assign your case to a different case officer, you will be told as soon as the change is made.
2. All communications from you will be acknowledged within two working days.
3. A substantive response will be given within 10 working days and, where this is not possible, an update will be sent within the 10 working day period telling you when you should expect to receive a substantive response from us.
4. You will be given clear deadlines when asked to submit additional information.
5. You will receive an update from the designated case handler on the current status of your case at least once a month.
Any firm which is considering applying for authorisation can find further help and information on our website.