Over two thirds (69%) of organisations prioritise risk management and compliance over customer experience and operational responsiveness, according to a study from Callcredit Information Group. The research, part of Callcredit’s New Affordability report, asked UK risk and customer experience managers about their attitudes towards affordability assessments. It unearths the struggle experienced by many when it comes to the balance between robust assessments and a seamless customer experience. The fact that 17% of respondents said they have had a customer complaint about their affordability checks points to the need for an improved consumer experience.

The biggest consumer concerns about affordability checks, according to customer experience leaders are:

• The time it takes to complete the application (50%)
• The amount customers are able to borrow (49%)
• Security of their personal information (42%)

Eamonn Tierney, Managing Director – UK Business Development, Callcredit Information Group, commented: “Having robust affordability assessments in place is rightly becoming more important, but they should never come at the detriment of customer experience. Our research highlights the need for more education about available techniques and technology which can transform the affordability assessments making it as seamless as possible. There is a range of solutions that can help lenders verify income and expenditure, often without asking consumers to provide supporting paperwork through a swift, automated application procedure. Providing this digitalised view of transactional data can really streamline the process.”

The research also found that 41% of risk leaders think it is difficult to balance their commercial and customer needs with regulatory concerns. For almost half of risk professionals (47%) delivering a seamless customer experience is a main consideration in conducting affordability assessments. This rises to 53% amongst customer experience managers. However, the research highlights a lag between a desire and the reality of doing so.

Eamonn continued: “Organisations need to embrace the new age of affordability, utilising technology to both ensure compliance and improve customer experience. They should use the evolving market as an opportunity to re-think current practice and make some fundamental changes.  Lenders can now assess a higher number of potential borrowers digitally without any manual intervention or interruption to the customer journey.”