FCA bans “reckless” payday lender

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The City watchdog has banned the director of a payday loan firm, claiming that he acted “recklessly” and that customers frequently were misled or treated unfairly.

Wage Payment and Payday Loans Limited also used the trading names ‘Payday Overdraft’, ‘Wage payday’ and ‘Doshloans’.

Andrew Barry Hart is the sole director, controller and ultimate owner of WPPL.

In two separate Decision Notices, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) banned Hart from performing any role in regulated financial services and cancelled WPPL’s interim permission.

Hart and WPPL dispute the FCA’s decisions and have referred their cases to the Upper Tribunal, which means the findings in these Decision Notices are provisional.

The Tribunal will determine whether to dismiss the referral or return it to the FCA with a direction to reconsider.

The FCA found Hart is not a fit and proper person because he lacks integrity and competence.

In the FCA’s view, between 1 April 2014 and 28 August 2014, he took a reckless approach to managing WPPL and to complying with regulatory requirements.

It says he recklessly contributed to and failed to address unfair business practices carried on by WPPL.

Hart failed to take reasonable steps to implement appropriate policies and procedures relating to creditworthiness, affordability and forbearance.

He also failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that WPPL had appropriate systems in place to communicate with customers, to ensure that customer complaints were dealt with adequately, to provide proper oversight of WPPL’s staff and to ensure that WPPL’s loan agreements complied with regulatory requirements.

Hart’s failings had a direct impact on WPPL’s customers, who were often treated unfairly and were frequently misled.

Customer complaints were commonly disregarded, and excessive sums were taken out of some customers’ bank accounts.

In some cases these practices caused financial loss to customers, many of whom were already in financial difficulties.