Morses Club sees a big rise in remote lending

Morses Club CEO Paul SmithMorses Club CEO Paul Smith
Morses Club CEO Paul Smith
Credit lender Morses Club said it is making good progress to accelerate remote methods of lending and collection in a challenging trading environment.

The Batley-based firm, the UK’s second biggest home credit lender after Provident Financial, said customer response to the launch of remote lending has been positive. It said subscribers to Morses Club’s online customer portal, which enables remote lending and collection, continue to increase month on month, with over 112,000 customers registered.

In August, the group restarted face-to-face lending and collection activity in customer homes, in strict accordance with Government guidelines.

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Despite a face-to-face alternative being available, remote lending still represented over 50 per cent of loan volumes issued in August, demonstrating that a greater number of customers are now choosing to use Morses Club’s remote lending product.

Home collected credit (HCC) sales for the 26 weeks to August 31 were £51m, down from £82m in the previous half year, a decline of 38 per cent.

Customer satisfaction has been maintained at 97 per cent or above, reflecting the company’s customer-centric approach.

The impact of Covid-19 has hit the trajectory of Morses Club’s digital business to profitability and, whilst performance compared with last year is very positive, the trajectory of cash and sales has been impacted by the fall in customer demand, as Morses Club’s focus on the quality of its lending has led to much lower volumes of sales than its pre-Covid forecast anticipated.

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It is now expected that the digital business will reach a break-even position in spring 2022.

Paul Smith, CEO of Morses Club, said: “In response to the current challenging trading conditions, we are accelerating all aspects of the digitalisation of our business, not just as a response to the ongoing impact of Covid-19, but to create a new model for our business to the benefit of our customers, employees and agents.

“We are encouraged by our customers’ response to our remote lending product and we have seen improvements in lending and collections in our HCC division since the launch of remote lending, initially to existing customers, in April 2020."

He said Shelby Finance continues to make good progress, with its broader product offering attracting a more diverse customer base and is set to drive growth in the medium term.

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“Service and safety are intrinsically linked in all our decision making, so that satisfying customer demand and adapting all aspects of our service to the new world we live in is at the heart of our strategy," he added.

"We have not changed our approach, but have accelerated delivery of key programmes with the digital and HCC divisions increasingly working more closely together to deliver for our customers.”