This summer recess I visited Vanquis Bank which has one of its three nationwide call centre sites based in Chatham to hear about their work and talk to them about responsible credit following the successful approval of my Breathing Space scheme into law last year.
Vanquis is the largest dedicated specialist ‘low and grow’ credit card issuer in the UK credit card market. The Chatham site employs around 800, many of whom are local, making it one of the larger employers in the Thames Gateway area and last year approved its 3.5 millionth customer.
Vanquis Bank is one of the many new credit providers and banks that have grown as alternatives to the mainstream high street banks following last decades financial crash. And they are growing in popularity and reputation.
I first get to know Vanquis Bank in 2016 when I introduced my Debt Respite (Breathing Space) Bill, which aimed to give those in problem debt a short respite from interest charges and bailiffs in order to restructure repayments in an affordable way. This was put into legislation last year in the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill. Vanquis was one of the first lenders to offer their support of Breathing Space and helped shape it.
Vanquis Bank also engages in a number of charitable causes including Hatua, a charity created to educate children in the poorest parts of Kenya and provide books, computer equipment, learning resources and motivational guidance to talented pupils.
It was great to meet Paul Rodford, Head of Corporate Affairs, and the local Chatham team which is making a real contribution to our local and national economy, as well as in our household finances. These businesses are exciting for the future and I want to ensure Medway can continue to attract the best to employ local people and boost growth in our community.