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.
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.
The Financial Conduct Authority ('FCA') is in the final stages of consulting on its proposals for a new Consumer Duty, which focuses on ensuring improved outcomes for users of financial services and products. In this briefing we consider how the proposed duty could help to address long-standing problems associated with ‘relending’ in the UK’s consumer credit markets.
Prior to the lockdown, CfRC’s Executive Director, Damon Gibbons, participated in an event run by IFF Research about creative problem solving. His speech identified expenditure demands relative to income at specific points in time as the cause of most financial difficulty. Solutions need to help expenditure flex over time rather than focus on increasing temporary income levels through access to credit.
CfRC reports on the social impact of Fair for You. By providing fair, decent, and flexible loans to help low income families obtain essential household items including beds, cookers, fridges, and washing machines, Fair for You has not only eased their financial burdens but also had hugely positive impacts for their health and well-being, including that of their children.