What the NACFB logo means for your business and – more importantly – your clients
I often talk about the power of belonging and the power of being part of a community that is greater than the sum of its parts. Whether you’re a member of a football supporters club, your local sailing fraternity or golf club, there is intrinsic value in being part of a collective; bound by a common interest and, more likely than not, shared goals.
Such collectivism matters even more when you become a member of a professional body, like the NACFB – but with us you get a lot more than just a shared sense of identity. Being a member of a recognised trade association is more than just displaying the logo and getting on with business; it’s understanding what that logo actually represents, sharing its inherent value with your stakeholders and, ultimately, wearing it with a sense of pride.
I spend a significant part of each working day talking with NACFB brokers, so I am well versed in relaying what the logo means to our community. I often draw parallels between a business owner drawing a loan facility and a family booking a holiday. Both represent a significant financial outlay, both require advice from genuine experts and perhaps most significantly, both require a high level of assurance that the person providing you with a service is legitimate and can provide you with a level of protection if things go wrong.
When you book a holiday, you look for the ATOL protection logo, a nationally recognised body who ensure that when you pack your suitcase you can pack some peace of mind too. We see the NACFB logo as an equivalent level of nationally recognised protection for SMEs seeking a business loan via an intermediary.
Only full broker members of the Association are entitled to display the NACFB logo. This means they are an organisation that meets a stringent set of minimum standards and adheres to a Code of Practice, whilst operating under FCA permissions and possessing a full Data Protection licence. The logo also means that the broker firm operates with Professional Indemnity Insurance, there to provide protection should anything go wrong. These are all important elements that can provide the business you engage with an extra layer of assurance and we always encourage all our members to relay this to their clients.
So, if you’re a full member of the NACFB and you’re not displaying the logo on your website, business card or email signature, why not? For it’s not just clients that seek the reassurance of a nationally recognised trade body, increasingly lenders do too.
Over the last twelve months we have seen movements from the FCA that signpost a clear direction of regulatory travel. Although their motor finance review, published in March, directly pertained to the vehicle finance community, closer examination reveals it contained a broader message for the broking industry. Namely that the FCA has become increasingly proactive in seeking to shape credit markets for the benefit of consumers, regardless of whether the products are for property or machinery.
This shaping of the credit markets means that ever greater scrutiny will be placed on the broker and lender dynamic. We are confident that all members of the NACFB adhere to a minimum set of standards and that is why, after they have satisfied our membership criteria, we allow them to use the NACFB logo.
An organisation like ours is only as strong as our weakest member, so in order to maintain our kitemark of quality we regularly conduct on site minimum standard reviews for all our members at all levels.
Our aim is to make sure we use the review, and consequent observations, to ensure our brokers businesses are run as professionally as possible – as well as conforming to all the elements of regulation that apply to their operation. Our Patrons, who are vital stakeholders, show an extremely keen interest in the fact that there is a level of oversight of both regulatory and professional performance and this is evidenced by the high-level results and general direction of travel and trends. The additional assurance that we are able to deliver serves only to help our Members prosper.
The Association has grown to the largest it has been in its 27-year history – with over 1020 companies now operating as NACFB broker firms. Your trade body remains the UK’s largest independent, and non-profit, association dedicated solely to the commercial finance broker.
We are a community bound by a common interest, united by a duty to provide funding to small UK businesses and one that continues to operate for the greater good – we encourage you to make our identity a part of yours.
Norman Chambers, Managing Director, NACFB