Friday, 30 October 2009

Random sender addresses

I'm getting really fed up with the practice that some companies have adopted, of setting a new sender address for every e-mail newsletter.

For example, IThound, an Incisive Media publication, sent something with the sender address
This is presumably so that they can route any replies to the originator of the offer that the newsletter covers.

That's not a trusted address so the message is marked as [Spam] and placed in the Junk Mail folder. If I click 'Mark As Wanted' in the AVG toolbar, the message is moved back to the Inbox but no Outlook rules are applied to it. I have to file it manually. A new entry is added to the AVG whitelist, and any further messages from the same sender should be filed according to my Outlook rules settings. In all likelihood, there won't be any further messages with the same random sender address, so all that happens is that my whitelist is stuffed with rubbish like this.

Streetcards, one of my occasional suppliers, who have great products, change the domain name on their outgoing e-mails and the same thing happens.

I actually want to read some of the material that I'm sent. That's why I signed up in the first place. I don't want to unsubscribe, but I don't want to have to waste time either. Hang your heads in shame:
  • Incisive Media
  • Novatech
  • Internet World
  • Insurance Times
  • Euromoney plc
  • Streetcards

Monday, 19 October 2009

Affordability checks for UK mortgage lenders - not so new

The UK Government and the FSA are making a great play of their plans to introduce affordability checks for mortgage borrowers. The FSA's reform proposals are here.

This really should be nothing new for the banks, which already have responsibilities under the FSA's Treating Customers Fairly initiative. The FSA Treating Customers Fairly pages include six consumer outcomes, including:
Outcome 4: Where consumers receive advice, the advice is suitable and takes account of their circumstances.

Drilling down further into the examples, these include a specific example of the need for the mortgage sales process to check affordability.

Affordability will often have been an issue in some types of loan, but these - self-certification, sub-prime and high Loan To Value mortgages - have pretty much disappeared from the market.

Best practice sales processes for lending already include the checks, but of course these are only as good as the information available to them, and some may be circumvented by inaccurate statements or disclosure by potential borrowers. If the proposals include harsh penalties for selling unaffordable loans, lenders will have a problem. Inevitably though, they will find ways to manage and mitigate the risks, even if that means a reduction in the availability of loans.

More later when I've gone through the 118-page FSA document.