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.
Reports that Government is considering a 'U-turn' with respect to the regulation of Buy Now Pay Later products indicates a willingness to sacrifice consumer protection for temporary economic growth. It would also make for a huge divergence between Britain and other jurisdictions, including the EU, who are proposing a tougher crack-down on what, essentially, is just another version of the credit card.
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.
With Council Tax debt rising, and the use of bailiffs increasing, Carl Packman reflects on Dr. Joseph Spooner's analysis of how austerity economics over the past decade has led many local authorities to become 'hardened creditors'.
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.