WITH the start of 2014 a new era is dawning for York credit card insurer CPP as the business takes some of its biggest steps to redeem itself following its misselling scandal.
Alongside rebuilding its reputation, the Holgate-based firm is working to reposition the business in the hope of turning losses of £20 million back into growth.
At the helm of the transition is newly-appointed chief executive Brent Escott who took over in September.
Mr Escott has taken charge on the cusp of a redress scheme being agreed, which will see millions of customers paid compensation in light of mis-sold insurance.
He said a lot of work had been done to rid the business of the infamy that surrounds it after being fined a record £10.5 million by the Financial Services Authority last November, and that a new working culture had already been adopted to put right what went wrong under previous management.
He said: “CPP very clearly had a business in York that was very successful and grew at a rapid rate. The rate of growth did mean that the controls and some of the functions weren’t given as much attention as they should have been. One of the consequences of that was the difficulties with the regulator.
“Like most cases when things go wrong it is usually down to management. It is not the people that were employed by CPP who were very loyal and worked across the business. It is down to the culture and the framework created by the management style. One of the things CPP did was it had a very aggressive selling culture. It is that that ultimately led to the misselling.
“We are changing the company to be customer focused and customer orientated. Selling is short-term. Looking after the customer long-term is better for the business and better for the customer.
“If you look after the customer the profits will look after themselves. The big difference at the business now is the complete re-engineering of the business to be customer led.”
A review of the business is leading to new operational and IT systems being implemented but has also seen a resizing of CPP, which employs 1,100 staff, 550 of which are in York.
Mr Escott said: “We have got a fantastic work force. We have got a lot of very loyal people, people that are committed to CPP. That is the best resource we have, the human capital. However we are a business at the moment that has some uncertainty and we are reducing in size.
“We have had redundancy periods and we continue to review that resizing of the business. That is across the board and is a working progress. There is still work to be done before we are in a position of safety and growth.
“From the people perspective that’s incredibly unsettling when there’s times of change and uncertainty.
“The responsibility of the business is to recognise these problems and work through them. We cannot change where we are, all we can do is navigate a way through.
“We just have to be honest with people and look after people in the right way.”
Mr Escott said the future of the business would not start taking shape until the redress scheme is confirmed and plans can be made beyond compensation payouts.
CPP customers affected by miss-sold insurance are being invited to a creditors’ meeting at Wembley Arena to vote on the compensation proposals.
If the scheme is approved by a majority at the meeting at noon tomorrow and in a postal ballot of those who do not wish to travel to Wembley, it will then go to the High Court to be sanctioned at a hearing scheduled for January 14, with the claim process to start in early February.
Mr Escott said: “The good news is there is a future. It may be a bit unclear and difficult but as an organisation we have made huge steps forward in terms of what we need to be doing.
“The exciting thing is as we are doing a very thorough review of the business we are getting a really good look at the opportunities in the UK and overseas.
“When we come through this we will come out a much stronger business, and a business that is positioned for the 21st century.
“Hopefully the fact that I have joined at a time of uncertainty will give people a degree of confidence, and I have got a good background that will hopefully give CPP what it needs.
“CPP will be here, it’s a question of how we position the business and how quickly we can do it. We want to see a business that is growing and thriving, not a business that is struggling along.
“We are determined to rebuild the business and get it to growth again.”