Employer Salary Advance Schemes (ESAS) and loans provided with the security of 'first call' on wages are expanding. Whilst collecting repayments directly from pay helps reduce the cost of borrowing, there are concerns that the products could harm some customers. In this blog we urge providers to ensure advances and loans are affordable and for mechanisms to be put in place so financially distressed customers can easily request a suspension of payments. We also call for further research to be conducted into the impacts of the products.
In July, we reflected on new evidence looking at people’s experience of using illegal lenders. Today, we are publishing our secondary analysis of the FCA's Financial Lives Survey, 2020 highlighting how demographic factors and financial pressures combine to increase the risk of borrowing from loan sharks. We find that having borrowed from legal high-cost lenders in the past 12 months greatly increases this risk and call for direct measures to counter cost-of-living pressures as the means to counter it.
Following reports of a possible Government U-turn concerning the regulation of Buy Now Pay Later, we provide further details of the link to credit card debt and argue that should be subject to the same rules.
Estimates of illegal moneylending use vary widely, from just 200,000 to over 1 million. But whatever the true scale of the problem, the main drivers are likely to be poverty and over-indebtedness rather than a "credit vacuum". Carl Packman reflects on the latest evidence.
In November 2022, the FCA identified several serious failings with the current system of credit information reporting. These included poor governance arrangements, systemic inhibitors to innovation, and a lack of comprehensive and accurate reporting. In this blog, we provide our reflections on the FCA's proposed remedies and argue that fundamental changes are needed to the types of information being collected and reported.
Today’s announcement that the energy price cap is to rise by 80%, risks a 'Winter of Despair' for low to middle income households. Radical action is now needed to hold down prices, and protect those with prepayment meters in their homes.
The Bank of England's latest Financial Stability Review uses a new measure of household debt burdens, designed to take account of cost-of-living pressures. We provide our assessment, arguing for greater transparency concerning its method of calculation. At present, the Bank may be underplaying the financial stability risks associated with household debt and further interest rate rises could compound this further.
As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, Executive Director, Damon Gibbons, questions whether credit expansion to households is part of the solution, or whether it would be better to extend help to service providers in return for commitments to keep prices down.