Driving fair customer outcomes

Our mission is to drive fair customer outcomes within financial services through independent oversight.

The LSB covers both personal and business customers of financial services. We are independent in our approach to setting standards and to overseeing compliance with those standards. The Standards and Codes we set and oversee currently cover:

  • Lending
  • Asset Finance
  • Access to Banking
  • Authorised Push Payment Scams

We are now looking to build on the credibility we have gained in our first decade by raising the bar higher on standards for financial services in our second decade. We aim to achieve fair outcomes for consumers, both business and personal, by:

Setting high standards: setting and enhancing outcome standards for customers within financial services. The LSB will draw on the evidence of its oversight work to develop the Standards and Codes for which it is already responsible. We shall set standards in new areas where the LSB’s rigour can add value for consumers and where the industry and regulators support our involvement.

Delivering independent oversight: providing robust and independent oversight of the Standards and Codes for which we are responsible. The LSB will continue to undertake a programme of compliance work which gives assurance that our Standards are being adhered to, which highlights good practice and which ensures breaches are identified and remedied.

• Reaching wider: leading thinking within the industry by undertaking research, by disseminating good practice and by broadening the range of firms to which the Standards apply. The LSB will commission research and draw on its oversight work to raise firms’ awareness of what approaches improve outcomes for consumers, including how technology can be harnessed to improve services. We shall also encourage new firms to embrace our Standards and oversight in order to increase our coverage of the market and the number of consumers benefiting from the Standards.

• Raising awareness: raising the profile of the LSB’s work and of the Standards and Codes we oversee so that firms see the advantages of registering with the LSB, so that the boards and senior executive teams of participating firms set store by our findings in developing their services for customers and so that organisations working with consumers are informed about our work and its implications. We also want consumers themselves to have a clearer understanding of what standards they should expect when using relevant services.

Read more about our work in our 2017-20 business plan.

View our latest annual report here.


We are funded by our registered firms but we operate as an independent body, governed and overseen by an independent Board composed of Non-Executive Directors.

Promoting and helping deliver fair outcomes and greater consistency for personal and small business borrowers

Through the Standards of Lending Practice, the LSB protects consumers and small businesses in areas not covered by existing regulation.

Improving customer outcomes

Identifying and sharing best practice supports the achievement of desired customer outcomes. In addition to our assurance work, we actively seek input from consumer groups, debt advice bodies and other industry stakeholders. When we identify areas where improvements might be achieved, we hold discussions with the industry with the aim of adopting them in the form of new guidance or strengthened Standards.

A dynamic process

The LSB continually researches areas of potential or emerging customer detriment. We propose new standards supported by best practice where these are not covered by detailed FCA rules or elsewhere. Recent examples have been supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances, understanding the challenges registered firms face in the digital space and helping firms to identify customers displaying early signs of financial difficulty. Click here to view some of the work we have done in this area.

Achieving high level of market coverage of personal and business lenders

To have credibility, self-regulation also requires significant market coverage amongst those firms that provide in-scope products and services. We have substantial market coverage from firms that have committed to adhering to the Standards of Lending Practice.

Branching out into new areas of lending

In 2014, the LSB extended self-regulation to Debt Collection agencies (DCAs) and Debt Purchase firms (DPFs). As we extend our product scope, we expect to attract a broader range of firms.

Demonstrating how self-regulation can deliver good customer outcomes and can complement the work of the FCA

We believe that a proportionate approach to regulation balances adequate consumer protection and a properly functioning competitive market. The LSB maintains an effective, collaborative relationship with the FCA and takes great care to complement, rather than duplicate, the work of industry regulators. This approach delivers a range of advantages that benefit not only the customer but the industry as a whole:

  • The ability to set standards in areas not covered by the FCA or other regulators leads to greater protection for customers;
  • The development of best practice to improve customer outcomes and greater consistency of treatment;
  • Changes to the Standards and the Information for Practitioners (for personal and business customers) can be implemented much faster than statutory rules, allowing us to respond rapidly to emerging issues; and
  • A cost-effective approach benefits both firms and their customers who ultimately bear the costs of regulation.

Being recognised as a leading, influential voice for personal and business lending

As an organisation dedicated to protecting the interests of consumers and small businesses, we have a responsibility to maintain a visible presence within the lending industry. Working closely with Firms, industry regulators, trade bodies and consumer organisations, we can help to shape the landscape for the common good of all stakeholders:

  • Being an industry commentator, providing ‘think pieces’ and reports highlighting good practice and drawing attention to areas for improvement
  • Raising with other regulators and policy makers regulatory gaps and deficiencies identified by our oversight work that sit outside the scope of the Standards.
  • Participating in consultations and working groups run by government and other regulators.
  • Maintaining close working relationships with trade bodies and consumer organisations as well as industry regulators.
  • Providing assistance to trade and self-regulatory bodies in the design and operation of their monitoring regimes.


Other industry agreements

Voluntary agreements are designed to fill gaps in consumer protection where, for example, customers would benefit from greater clarity or consistency.

Access to Banking Standard

Building on recommendations proposed by Professor Russel Griggs in his independent review of the Access to Banking protocol in 2016 and aimed at helping minimise the impact of bank branch closures on customers and local communities, we are now responsible for the oversight of this Standard. This means that we independently monitor and report on the application of the Standard by the following firms:

  • Barclays Bank
  • Bank of Ireland
  • The Co-operative Bank
  • Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank
  • Danske Bank
  • First Trust Bank
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Santander UK
  • TSB

This industry-wide agreement, which has the support of Government, the regulator and the main high street banks, aims to ensure customers affected receive improved notification of potential branch closures, greater clarity on the reasons for the closure and adequate help in accessing alternative banking services.

Credit Card Market Study (CCMS)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has undertaken a market study looking at how consumers use their credit cards and whether this product is working as well as it could for all consumers. In July 2016, the FCA published its final report along with a package of remedies to address the issues it has identified. Responsibility for the oversight of four of these remedies was passed to the LSB:

  • Expiry of a promotional rate
  • Prompting customers who are nearing their limit
  • Allowing customers to request a ‘later than’ payment date
  • Enabling customers to exercise greater control over unsolicited increases in their limit.

Firms are currently working to embed the required changes/updates within their processes. An overview of the expected customer outcome and the date that these will become effective are set out below:

  • Promotional rate expiry: credit card customers on a promotional rate are better prepared to make timely and informed decisions about the options open to them when this rate comes to an end. Implementation date: April 2018
  • Borrowing prompt: borrowing prompts help customers to take account of their spending, to make timely and informed decisions about how they use their credit card and avoid incurring an over limit charge. Implementation date: July 2018
  • Payment date changes: allowing customers to set a more convenient payment date for future statements enables them to exercise greater control over their credit card account. Implementation date: April 2018
  • Unsolicited credit limit increases: customers are able to exercise greater control over how their credit limit is managed through the provision of clear information and easier ways to express their preferences regarding unsolicited increases in their limit. Implementation date: November 2018

The LSB is engaging with firms and the FCA as the implementation timetable progresses.

Adding value for registered firms

Adhering to the Standards of Lending Practice adds value to firms in a number of ways:

  • By enhancing their reputation, helping them and the wider industry, rebuild trust;
  • By demonstrating a firm’s engagement with our development and research work which helps improve and enhance self-regulation;
  • By highlighting a commitment to fair lending to your customers and prospective customers;
  • By demonstrating to regulators, government and opinion formers that you are committed to treating your customers fairly; and
  • By providing a credible regime that complements statutory regulation.

The initiatives we take

Committing to the Standards of Lending Practice is a mark of trust, reassurance and integrity. We support and enhance credibility through proactive, robust, independent oversight that promotes the achievement of fair customer outcomes.

Regular reviews and updates ensure the Standards are robust, responsive and relevant. Needless to say, we expect all Firms applying for registration to provide comprehensive evidence of how they meet our Standards.

Gathering and sharing best practice also plays a key role in helping Firms to improve customer outcomes, whether via collaborative workshops, publishing research and reviews, or the provision of informal advice and guidance.


Read more about the added value of LSB registration

Developing close relationships with a range of stakeholders

In addition to our relationships with firms we value our ever-expanding relationships with regulators, government, trade associations and consumer and civil society organisations. Working collaboratively with external stakeholders supports the delivery of our vision of ensuring all personal and small business customers receive a fair deal from their lender – in an environment of greater trust between customers and the industry.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

For the benefit of registered firms and their customers, we work closely with the FCA to ensure our work is complementary to statutory regulation. A formal memorandum of understanding is in place in order to provide a framework for our relationship.

HM Treasury

We enjoy a positive relationship with the Treasury who, for example, requested that we undertake oversight of the Access to Banking Standard. The Treasury has also encouraged us to develop the Standards of Lending Practice for business customers and is supportive of our work to improve protections for SMEs.

Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)

We stay in close contact with the FOS. We have an agreed Statement of Roles and Responsibilities which sets out a framework for discussions and co-operation. Feedback from the FOS on existing and new classes of complaints provides an important input to the development of our work.

Single Financial Guidance Body (SFGB)

Although we do not provide direct financial guidance to consumers, we work collaboratively with the SFGB providing guidance on best practice as well as support for oversight and assurance frameworks.

Credit Services Association (CSA)

We maintain a close working relationship with the CSA, with whom we have a memorandum of understanding and whose chief executive attends our Board as an observer. We continue to develop this relationship as more debt collection and debt purchase firms register.

Other trade associations

We also regularly meet with representatives of other key trade bodies such as UK Finance, the Building Societies Association, the Finance and Leasing Association and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Debt advice charities

The LSB enjoys a close working relationship with the key debt advice charities such as the Money Advice Trust, StepChange, Citizens Advice and Christians Against Poverty. Regular contact provides access to valuable market intelligence, real-world information and research – all key elements in our oversight work and the identification of emerging issues.

Watch our video

Watch our video and hear more from the LSB team.

This video production was created by ITN Productions, in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM).