A new protocol to help ensure that motor finance works better for armed forces personnel deployed abroad has been launched by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA), the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Under the protocol, participating FLA lenders will allow a financed vehicle to be taken overseas for the remainder of the finance agreement, so long as the vehicle is comprehensively insured while there. If service personnel do not want, or are unable, to take the vehicle with them on deployment, the motor finance provider will “use their best endeavours to find a solution that is acceptable to the customer,” according to a press release.
The FLA will also include these principles in the specialist automotive finance learning material used by dealers, brokers, and motor finance provider staff across the industry.
While the protocol itself is new, it will operate as part of the existing Armed Forces Covenant – now in its 11th-year – the objective of which is to encourage public or private businesses to pledge that service personnel and their families will face no disadvantage compared to civilian customers.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge by the nation that those who serve in the armed forces, whether regular or reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services.
Service personnel account for about 0.4% of the economically active UK population and, of these, typically less than 6% are serving overseas.
Germany, the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus, Gibraltar and Belgium currently account for the majority of overseas postings. These are locations where it is usually appropriate for service personnel to take their vehicle.
Adrian Dally, director of motor finance at the FLA said: “It is good to see the informal help already offered by lenders shared more widely as part of this new protocol. Identifying yourself as service personnel early in the process of finding motor finance will ensure that your circumstances are taken into account and that your lender of choice is following the protocol.”
Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), added: “Franchised dealers strive to ensure all customers receive the highest level of service and the NFDA are extremely pleased to sign up to the new Armed Forces protocol.
“The new protocol will allow dealers to build on their existing standards of service by offering bespoke financial support and solutions for our armed service personnel.”