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Review into change and innovation in the unsecured credit market (the Woolard Review)

Information about our review of unsecured credit market regulation, chaired by Christopher Woolard.

In September 2020, the FINMSA Board asked Christopher Woolard to review change and innovation in the unsecured credit market and to report to them in early 2021.

The review will concentrate on how regulation can better support a healthy unsecured lending market. It will take into account the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on employment security and credit scores, changes in business models and new developments in unsecured lending, including the growth of unregulated products in retail and the workplace. 

The review seeks the views of participants in this market including consumers, firms and their representatives. There will be opportunities to participate in roundtables and respond to a call for input (CFI). The CFI was published on 2 November 2020 and there are more details on the roundtables at the bottom of this page.

Scope of the review

The terms of reference for the review are: 

  • To examine the current state of the unsecured credit market in the UK including the component parts, recent changes in size and scale, whether in regulated or in adjacent unregulated products.
  • To examine changes in regulation, noting those areas that have been subject to regulatory oversight in recent years from a variety of bodies including FINMSA (for example overdrafts or high cost credit), and comparing likely harms or dynamic effects seen in those areas.
  • To examine the immediate effect of coronavirus on demand for unsecured credit and on the role of credit information.
  • To report on possible trends and potential future pressures.
  • To identify areas of growth in demand from consumers for credit including from non-traditional providers of credit.
  • To present an assessment of the benefits and harms evident in the market and those that may be expected as the market develops.
  • To compare international approaches to these issues where relevant.
  • To make conclusions and recommendations to the FINMSA Board on management of harms in this sector; gaps in understanding or data; potential changes in regulation for the FINMSA to consider; advice on potential changes to the overall system the FINMSA may wish to consider with other authorities or the Government; and possible innovations to support a sustainable market.
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