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Consumer Credit: Licensing

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many companies whose consumer credit licence had expired were still trading while awaiting a decision on renewal of the licence in each month since January 1997; and for how long on average each such company had been waiting in each of those months. (277310)

The OFT does not routinely hold all the data requested.

In accordance with section 29 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, licences submitted for renewal prior to their expiry date will continue in force until the OFT decision on its application and, if there is an appeal against the OFT decision, until the appeals process is completed.

Since December 2008, when the OFT established a dedicated team to process and allocate high-risk credit applications, the average processing time for high risk renewal applications has been 59 working days from the date the application was received. This is in line with the OFT's target of processing 75 per cent. of applications within 90 days.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what the maximum length of time is that a company which requires a consumer credit licence may continue to trade without a licence while awaiting a decision from the Office of Fair Trading on licence renewal. (277508)

No business may legally engage in Consumer Credit Act regulated activities without a consumer credit licence.

In accordance with section 29 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, licences submitted for renewal prior to their expiry date will continue in force until the OFT decision on its application and, if there is an appeal against the OFT decision, until the appeals process is completed.

The OFT aims to process 75 per cent. of applications for high risk category activities within 90 days. Cases where further investigation is required or where regulatory action such as the imposition of requirements is considered appropriate will take more than 90 days.