How to appeal
As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting UK businesses, Lloyds Banking Group plc, of which AMC is a subsidiary business, is leading the improving customer relationships theme with the British Bankers' Association taskforce for business finance. One of the measures of support is to give customers the right to appeal following either a decision to decline a lending application or if you disagree with a conditional Loan Offer.
1. What is the process for an appeal?
If your application for lending is declined, you have the right to appeal that decision and have the decision independently reviewed by an experienced lender from our specialist lending appeals team. Where AMC approves a loan, you also have the right to appeal the conditions of that offer (see note 7).
2. What products can I appeal a decision about?
Both the AMC Standard Loan and Flexible Facility are covered by this process.
3. Under what circumstances can I appeal?
You can appeal following any formally declined lending decision or Loan Offer. An application is considered formal when all relevant information that enables a decision to be reached has been provided to us. Requesting an appeal does not guarantee that a decision will be overturned.
4. How much time do I have to appeal a decision?
You have 30 days from the date of the decline letter or Loan Offer letter to appeal a decision.
5. Why can't I make an appeal after 30 days?
The information you provided at the time of your original application can become out of date.
6. What happens if my application has been through an AMC Agent?
An appeal can be made by either you or an Agent.
7. If my lending application is accepted but I do not like the price or the terms offered, can I appeal?
The appeal process has been put in place to support customers who have been declined a lending application or feel that a conditional offer is unacceptable. You can't use this process to appeal the proposed costs of agreed lending, such as interest rates, fees and costs, or our standard terms and conditions. You should discuss these matters with your Account Manager or equivalent. If you are still unhappy with the way we have dealt with your enquiry, you have the right to pursue a formal complaint and should contact your Account Manager.
8. What is the difference between an appeal and a complaint?
An appeal is a request to review a decision following a formal lending application. It is important that all our customers are confident that if an application for lending is declined, that they can have the decision independently reviewed by another experienced lender. Any issues that are outside of the appeal process should be taken forward as a complaint through the formal complaints process.
9. Can I appeal if I am declined because of an adverse credit rating?
If the reason for the decline is specifically due to an adverse credit history such as County Court Judgements (CCJs) or payment defaults, then the application can be appealed. However, you may need to obtain a full copy of your credit file from a Credit Reference Agency, and be able to prove that an error has occurred or that the circumstances of the adverse information were exceptional. Credit Reference Agencies hold information that helps lenders establish an individual’s credit record. You are legally entitled to see all the information held about you by any Credit Reference Agency by writing to them at Equifax Limited, Credit File Advice Centre, PO Box 1140, Bradford BD1 5US. Details of fees can be found on www.equifax.co.uk.
If your circumstances have changed significantly since the time of the original application and you would like to re-apply on that basis, we would be happy to consider a new application.
10. If my lending application is declined will you automatically review the decision without me appealing?
We would not automatically review lending decisions. Our Regional Agricultural Managers and Account Managers liaise closely with AMC credit specialists to ensure they have correctly assessed applications. More complex lending requests are often reviewed by a panel of credit specialists which ensures that the decision is already subject to more than just one individual's scrutiny.
11. If following an initial discussion about a lending application my relationship manager (Regional Agricultural Manager, New Business Manager or Account Manager) suggests that my application will not succeed, would I have the right to appeal?
An appeal can only be made after a decline decision following a formal application (see note 3).
Our relationship managers are highly skilled in assessing whether we have the right financial products to help you. If your relationship manager discussed that your application will not succeed, they can work with you to present a viable lending proposition in the future and if necessary, talk to you about alternative sources of finance and other support.
12. How quickly will you inform me of the result of the appeal?
You will receive written acknowledgement of receipt of the appeal. We then commit to reviewing your appeal and informing you of the outcome within 30 days of the date of the acknowledgement letter.
13. If my appeal is successful and the original decision is overturned, what happens next?
We will respond in writing to inform you of the outcome of the appeal at which stage your relationship manager will process your application for lending. You will also receive a payment of £150 in recognition of your successful appeal.
14. If my appeal is unsuccessful, how will AMC help me?
We will respond in writing confirming the outcome of the appeal. If your circumstances have changed significantly since the time of the original application you might like to consider making a new application. If this is not the case we will be happy to talk to you about how we can work together to present a viable lending proposition in the future.
15. How can I be sure that the appeal process works?
AMC as a subsidiary of Lloyds Bank plc adheres fully to the standards set out by the British Bankers' Association which are documented in 'A guide to the Lending Code for Micro-Enterprises' and 'Lending Principles for Larger Businesses'. We want to ensure our customers have the confidence and peace of mind that our decisions are fair and correct so we are monitored by an Independent External Reviewer. Their role is to ensure banks have the correct processes to handle appeals fairly and effectively.
16. What is the role of the Independent External Reviewer?
The role of the Independent External Reviewer is to provide an independent assessment of the appeal processes. The Reviewer is not in a position to review individual lending decisions or accept appeals directly from customers in the event of a complaint. Their role is to ensure banks have the correct processes to handle appeals fairly and effectively themselves.
17. What role does the Lending Standards Board (LSB) have in the appeal process?
The role of the LSB is to monitor and enforce the Lending Code and to ensure participating banks provide a fair deal to their Personal and Micro-Enterprise* customers. Recent amendments have been made to the Lending Code to include the appeal process and the LSB will be reviewing the Independent Reviewer's report and recommendations carefully.
* A Micro-Enterprise is defined as a business that employs fewer than 10 persons and has a turnover or annual balance sheet that does not exceed €2million.