Is there any wonder that so few comments have been posted?
Heres an exerpt from the report on The CSA & DBSG Annual Conference 2008
The CSA and DBSG promised much, and once again delivered in what was the largest event in the Association’s history.
More than 250 delegates visited the exhibition and joined the conference to hear experts from the world of credit and finance discuss the key issues of the day, in a week where the cataclysmic turmoil in the banking sector reached an historic low.
Having welcomed the audience with the good news – that both the CSA and DBSG continue to go from strength to strength – CSA President Najib Nathoo turned almost immediately to the news that had shocked guests overnight, the proposed take-over of HBOS by Lloyds TSB. “Are we at the bottom,” Najib wondered, “or is there still some way to go? The credit crunch is the equivalent of a large kidney stone,” he quoted. “It will pass, but it’s going to hurt!”
David Smith, Economics Editor for the Sunday Times also joked that when he had accepted the invitation to come and speak at the conference, he had done so because he believed it was going to be a quiet week! Now it had become the week when the credit crunch finally came home to Britain. David spoke at length about how the credit crunch had come about, and how particularly damaging the results were now beginning to prove. After 63 quarters of consecutive growth, a tripling of house prices, low unemployment, low inflation, and low interest rates, consumer panic was only just around the corner.
David pondered whether the crisis could have been avoided, or whether it was an accident waiting to happen. Might the FSA done more in keeping a tighter rein? Yes it appears so. Could the Bank of England have included house prices in calculating interest rates? Perhaps. And could Gordon Brown have intervened to stop lending institutions from agreeing loans above 80%LTV? Probably not.
The lack of availability of credit, David explained, would have been bad enough, but combined with the inflationary shock, the result was nuclear. In discussing how the press is sometimes accused of talking the country into a recession, he wondered whether HBOS’ own house price index that showed house prices falling dramatically was, in the end, a PR own-goal. Pessimism was undoubtedly driving the squeeze. Businesses generally were coping quite well, it was the banks that were in meltdown. So was there any good news?
Falling oil prices offered some respite, perhaps, but the economy was at best flat, and given the news of the past few days, a mild recession looked an increasing probability. Inflation might fall, but only after the damage has already been done. “Is this the low point?” he asked. “The cathartic moment?” David believes that there is still more gloom on the way, and that the only surprise will be if there are no more surprises.
“It will be a busy time for the debt collection industry,” he concluded, “and a busy time for economic journalists.”
Given the task to ‘follow that’ was Godfrey Lancashire, former President of the CSA, who made an impassioned plea to members engaged in tracing to get into their MPs faces and start making some noise. His bete noir was the recent announcement that tracing agents would not have access to the edited electoral role, and he repeated that “tracing is lawful, necessary and justifiable.”
Godfrey particularly focused on the nonsense of the Security Industry Authority’s intention to ‘license’ private investigators, including tracers, and the government’s rationale as to why tracing agents should be included. In picking apart the government’s argument, he rounded on them squarely, demonstrating how their key areas of concern were areas already dealt with in the CSA’s Code of Practice, a code that had since been revised and updated to include – for the first time ever – guidance for tracing agents specifically.
Graham Haxton-Bernard of the CCTA ran through the post contract information requirements under the Consumer Credit Act 2006 before the morning session was concluded by a comment on the brave new world of consumer protection by Stephen Dawson of Shoosmiths. Stephen highlighted five of the 31 changes, notably those that might be defined as unfair, misleading and aggressive and how current practices within the debt sale and purchase market specifically might be interpreted negatively by the courts.
After lunch, delegates broke into their respective ‘streams’ which this year were broken down into debt sale and purchase, collections management, public sector debt, and you and your business. Guests later returned for the President’s reception and the sumptuous Gala Dinner.
Its all here
Anyone fancy a trip to London on Feb 5th