13 May 2020 | Posted In Bob's Blog (MALG updates)

All of our lives and those of our clients and customers continue to feel the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and I sincerely hope you and your families are all well. As an organisation based around face-to-face national and regional meetings, we have had to quickly adapt to new ways of working and I trust you feel we have been supporting you and your needs so far. As the Coronavirus crisis continues to develop, we are all hopeful that ‘we will meet again’ at our annual conference in October if not before, and we appreciate that we may have to continue to get used to a ‘new normal’ for the next few months. We will, of course, keep you updated as things progress.

Our first ‘virtual’ National Members Meeting held via Zoom on 30 April was well received and we have had several requests for a copy of the excellent presentations that were given. They are now available on our website here.

MALG Friday Forum insight: Coronavirus and money advice sector capacity – the calm before the storm?

The most recent MALG ‘Members Friday Forum’ highlighted that advice organisations are not yet being flooded with new enquiries as was originally predicted. Much like many areas of the NHS where the capacity is there to treat patients with ailments other than Covid-19, those facing increased financial difficulty are holding back in coming forward for help until the peak of the pandemic is over. This has prompted many to raise concerns that there is pent up demand and that these vital services will be inundated when the ‘aftershocks’ of the current crisis begin to emerge.

When coming together as MALG members to look at the whole picture of temporary Government support packages, regulatory changes and forbearance; the wider economic impact; and the short and long term implications for individual households, some fear that this is the ‘calm before the storm’ for the money advice sector.

Read our blog about this here and let us know your thoughts.

We are also still developing our list of creditor email addresses for advisers to use during the Coronavirus crisis. We have had several specific requests and are still looking for specific addresses for MBNA and Lending Stream/Gain Credit.

The next MALG Members Friday Forum will be held on 15 May 2020. Find out how to join here. or contact us on info@malg.org.uk for more info.

New MALG Strategic Member – Financial Wellness Group

On the subject of debt advice capacity, this year has seen the formation of Financial Wellness Group which draws on the vast experience of Gregory Pennington, Wilson Andrews and Freeman Jones to create one of the largest providers of debt advice and solutions, in the UK. The launch is timely given the unprecedented challenge faced by our sector with predictions that over 50% more debt advice capacity will be needed in the coming months.

We are pleased to announce that Financial Wellness Group has become a National Strategic Member of MALG. Sebrina McCullough, External Relations Manager, Financial Wellness Group (formerly Gregory Pennington), said: “Meeting this challenge will require collaboration across the sector. MALG has the unique ability to bring people together to exchange ideas and help drive the innovation that we need. We remain fully committed to working with MALG and the wider sector to ensure that free high quality advice and solutions are accessible to everyone that needs them. Building on our membership of MALG – which stretches back over many years – by becoming a National Strategic Member is the natural next step, which we are delighted to take. We look forward to continuing to work with MALG and its members to help improve the lives of people in debt.”

MALG Regional Meetings update

Details of some of this year’s regional MALG meetings are available on our website at www.malg.org.uk/events.

If you aren’t currently being invited to regional meetings and think you should be/want to be, please contact the relevant regional secretary:

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