Col­lec­tion lev­els at doorstep lender Morses bounce back

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Michael O’Dwyer

DOORSTEP lender Morses Club ex­pects debt col­lec­tion to reach pre-pan­demic lev­els by the end of Au­gust, as high-in­ter­est lenders bat­tle back to­wards nor­mal­ity.

The Aim-listed com­pany’s home col­lected credit divi­sion re­couped cash at 98pc of nor­mal lev­els in July. The pos­i­tive up­date sent shares soar­ing 22.8pc to 62.6p in early trade, valu­ing Morses at £83m.

Lend­ing by high in­ter­est firms, which typ­i­cally tar­get cus­tomers on the bread­line with a poor credit his­tory, all but ground to a halt dur­ing lock­down. Busi­nesses such as Morses that col­lect door to door had a par­tic­u­lar chal­lenge, as non-es­sen­tial con­tact was banned. The reopen­ing of the econ­omy has made col­lect­ing re­pay­ments eas­ier, but some lenders have suf­fered heav­ily dur­ing the pan­demic.

Ri­val Non-Stan­dard Fi­nance was last week forced to halt plans to raise funds af­ter the City reg­u­la­tor found prob­lems in its guar­an­tor loans divi­sion.

Morses will keep em­ploy­ees and agents work­ing from home un­til the end of the year, and could sell off some of its of­fices as a re­sult. An­a­lysts at Good­body said they ex­pect costs to be cut as a re­sult of the pan­demic.

Morses now has 110,000 cus­tomers reg­is­tered for its on­line por­tal, up from 78,000 at the start of the year, as the cri­sis tur­bocharges a move to­wards the in­ter­net.

The sub­prime lender of­fered a month’s free bank­ing to its U Ac­count cus­tomers in July af­ter the Fi­nan­cial Con­duct Author­ity tem­po­rar­ily froze the ac­counts be­cause of links to the UK sub­sidiary of col­lapsed Ger­man pay­ments firm Wire­card. The watch­dog stepped in to try to pro­tect con­sumers whose ac­counts re­lied on Wire­card’s tech­nol­ogy amid fears their money could be shifted abroad.

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