Lenders 'still not doing enough'

22 May 2009

Housing advisers

New research by Shelter and other leading advice agencies shows some lenders are still not fully using Government schemes to help struggling homeowners.

Shelter, AdviceUK, Citizens Advice and the Money Advice Trust have conducted a survey of their advice experts to see how Government mortgage repossession schemes are working on the ground.

Read the survey in full

The survey has found that while 51% of advisers surveyed reported an improvement in mainstream lenders practices since the Pre Action Protocol came into force, only 20% of advisers report that sub-prime and second charge lenders’ arrears collection practices have improved since the new guidance for judges was established.

National Debtline also conducted a survey of its clients, which reflects the experiences of advisers. 58% of callers in arrears with their first charge loan said the solution offered to them by their lender was affordable when told about repayment problems. This contrasts with only 39% of callers in arrears with their second charge loan who were offered an affordable solution.

AdviceUK, Citizens Advice, Money Advice Trust and Shelter are calling on all lenders to fully comply with the Pre Action Protocol and industry guidance to help prevent rising repossessions.

Other findings from the adviser survey include:

  • 74% of advisers agree that following the launch of the Pre-Action Protocol judges are asking more questions about lenders’ attempts to reach the borrower before taking court action (compared to 24% who disagree).
  • 46% of advisers surveyed report no real difference in lenders’ practice following the changes to Support for Mortgage Interest; yet. 
  • 30% report that lenders are less likely to proceed with possession action through the courts following the changes to Support for Mortgage Interest.
  • 80% of advisers surveyed report that clients move into the private rented sector following repossession.
  • 82% of advisers report that clients need debt advice after being repossessed.

Sam Younger, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘The research paints a mixed picture of how lenders are reacting to Government schemes to help homeowners. Unless all lenders urgently sign up to and consistently implement these or equivalent schemes and strictly adhere to the pre-action protocol many people will fall through the gaps and repossessions will continue to rise.

‘The demand for advice services like ours has never been greater but we urgently need the Government to provide further resources for vital debt advice, so that everyone can get free advice when they need it. In the meantime we would urge people to contact their lender for advice.’

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