This summer saw the publication 'Gambling, Vulnerability and FCA Compliance' (How financial services firms can achieve the best outcomes for vulnerable customers who gamble). by Sharon Collard and Katie Cross at the Bristol University Personal Finance Research Centre.
Credit unions are seeing increased levels of gambling activity on members accounts, especially since the pandemic. Many credit unions can conduct more forensic assessment of members accounts following the uptake in use of 'open banking'. This has contributed to a rising concern that gambling is causing harm to members and their families. Should the credit unions intervene, or should they mind their own business? Listen to the excellent points of view from industry leaders on this podcast.
Sharon Collard states, at a conservative estimate, at least one in ten adults in Britain (and I guess similar numbers in Ireland too) experience harmful gambling, either because of their own gambling or someone else’s. Gambling-related vulnerability can present a unique set of challenges because of its complexity, the fact is that the member may not be fully in control of their decisions or actions, and the fact is that it may not always be clear what a credit union can do to ensure the fair treatment of customers in this situation.
Do credit unions intervene, or not seems to be the conundrum? I think what we have heard, on this podcast, demonstrates that credit unions are well-placed to address the financial harms linked to gambling-related vulnerability. Some, credit unions are embarking on being quite interventionist and perhaps others less so. Perhaps credit unions can demonstrate their differences, from their competitors, by showing a more caring and concerned response to this growing problem in society. Or maybe our governments will curb the gambling companies and restrict the proliferation of their advertising; but I wouldn't bet on it.
Listen to the contributors to this podcast: