Co-op latest client to ditch Cobbetts’ debt recovery arm

The Co-operative Bank is the latest client to terminate its relationship with Incasso, the former debt recovery business of collapsed firm Cobbetts.

The confirmation comes a day after The Lawyer reported that long-standing Incasso client Enfield Borough Council had terminated its contract with the debt recovery specialist (11 March 2013) after the business was bought by HL Legal (1 March 2013).

It is understood that other clients, including members of the London University Purchasing Consortium, are also reviewing their contracts with the business. However, the London University Purchasing Consortium had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

A spokesperson for The Co-operative Group, which is understood to have worked with Incasso for several years, told The Lawyer: “I can confirm that we undertook a review after the company went in to administration and decided not to use them at the current time.”

The Lawyer revealed earlier this month that staff at Incasso were put on redundancy consultation weeks after the business was bought by HL Legal (1 March 2013).

At one point Incasso was the only team from Cobbetts without a new home following the Manchester firm’s collapse.

DWF had agreed to purchase the majority of Cobbetts as part of a pre-pack administration (6 February 2013), but it did not take on the firm’s finance litigation team or Incasso. Walker Morris went on to acquire the finance litigation practice (7 February 2013) while HL Legal purchased the debt recovery business from KPMG, whose partners Mark Firmin, Brian Green and Howard Smith acted as the failed firm’s administrators, a week later (14 February 2013).

Incasso legal team manager Mark Bartliff said he could not comment on the Co-operative’s termination. The Co-operative became the first consumer brand to be granted an ABS licence this time last year (28 March 2012).