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Supporting Vulnerable Customers Policy

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What is a vulnerable customer?

A vulnerable customer is someone who’s especially susceptible to harm because of personal circumstances, such as:

  • Age
  • A physical or learning disability
  • Physical or mental illness
  • Low literacy
  • Changes in circumstance e.g. bereavement
  • Communication difficulties
  • Money problems and over-indebtedness

The vulnerability could be temporary or permanent, can vary widely and might not be obvious.

We understand our duty to protect the interests of vulnerable customers by:

  • Looking out for those with disabilities and those whose circumstances have changed in such a way that they’re now considered vulnerable.
  • Understanding their needs, and;
  • Considering any actions/adjustments necessary to provide additional service/safeguards.

How do we support the needs of vulnerable customers?

We look out for warning signs and always consider our customers’ needs, treating everyone fairly as an individual so we can do what’s right. We’ll do our utmost to advise and support you, and make regular adjustments to our processes using specialist tools and resources.

Our highly trained staff help us offer you the support you need. Whether you have specific accessibility needs or find yourself vulnerable in the short term, we always consider our customers’ needs on a case-by-case basis.

We’ve a range of support tools for customers who, for example, are elderly and need a little extra help, or who have particular accessibility needs (visual, hearing, cognitive or motor impairment), such as:

  • Large print for our visually impaired customers.
  • The ability to work with an authorised, registered nominee or Power of Attorney, who can manage your application on your behalf.

We’ve also put together a list of advisory organisations that might be able to help if you need more support:

Age UK
Phone: 0800 055 6112

Royal National Institute of Blind people
Phone: 0303 123 999

Independent age
Phone: 0800 319 6789

British Deaf Association
Phone: 020 7697 4140

Phone: 0300 1233 393

Dementia friends
Phone: 0300 2225 855

Alzheimer’s Society
Phone: 0300 222 1122

Citizens advice
Phone (England): 03444 111 444
Phone (Wales): 03444 77 20 20

Citizens advice Scotland
Phone (Scotland): 03454 040 506

Struggling with debt?

If you’re struggling to pay bills because, for example, your income’s been lowered or you’ve taken on some unexpected costs, it’s always better to act as soon as you can to avoid falling further into debt.

Here are some advisory organisations that give free advice to help you get back on track:

Step Change
Phone: 0800 138 1111

Phone: 0800 138 7777

Pay plan
Phone: 0808 250 0869

Citizens advice
Phone (England): 03444 111 444
Phone (Wales): 03444 77 20 20

Citizens advice Scotland
Phone (Scotland): 03454 040 506

National Debtline
Phone: 0808 808 4000

Third-party assistance

Whether you have accessibility needs, find yourself vulnerable in the short-term or need someone to help you long-term, you can nominate a third-party to help sort out your application.

At a basic level, you can assign nominees, such as a relative or carer, who can contact us on your behalf to carry out certain actions in relation to your application.

Other third-parties will need to send us documentation to confirm their authority to act on your behalf.  This can either be:


  • Appointeeships – BF57 forms from the Department for Work and Pensions.
  • Signed letters of authority.
  • General Powers of Attorneys – that have not been endorsed by the Court.
  • Power of Attorney Registrations.

Or legal:

  • Enduring & Lasting Powers of Attorney issued in England and Wales.
  • General Power of Attorney – endorsed by the Court.
  • Deputies – Court of Protection.
  • Trusteeships.
  • Powers of Attorney and/or Court Orders issued in the UK

For more information about powers of attorney, refer to the government website:

Alternative format correspondence

From time to time, we’ll write to you about your products, services or application. If you have a disability or medical condition which makes it difficult for you to read our letters, we can provide this information in these alternative formats:

  • Large print.

To get your correspondence in an alternative format, tell our advisers and they will arrange it for you.

You could also consider using a Next Generation Text Service (NGTS); if you have a hearing and/or speech impairment, the NGTS uses a relay service to help you communicate over the phone. It’s compatible with landlines, smartphones, tablets and computers.

Information on how to set it up and how much it costs are explained in BT’s Relay UK webpage –