Consumer Debt was the main topic discussed at Credit Today’s Getting Out of Debt webinar, run 30 June 2022, sponsored by credit software specialist Aryza.
The core takeaway was the empowerment of consumers to allow them to manage their personal finances. The discussion highlighted the need for education on debt and advice, and the use of technology to provide additional accessible support for those struggling with their finances.
A range of experts joined Credit Today in a fast-paced but wide-ranging discussion, looking at vulnerability, levels of current debt, insolvencies, support for councils, and IT systems support.
Lukasz Krebel, economist at the New Economics Foundation (NEF), said education can help customers understand issues such as hidden late payment fees, to avoid people being pushed into debt, but more help might be needed. “We have massive inflation, but benefits not upgraded with inflation,” he said. “This is a very important systemic issue.”
Jonathan Shaw, creditor relationship manager at debt advice group Christians Against Poverty (CAP), said priority debt is becoming a growing issue. “So this is anything secured, like a mortgage or rent, that would have dire consequences for lack of payment, also energy or an enforcement agent coming round, a court fine or council tax,” he said.
Martin Prigent, Aryza director, said engagement is key. “Indebtedness now isn’t just about unsecured debt, it’s about utilities, it’s about changes to benefits, there are much wider things affecting your ability to pay,” he said. “With 42% of customers engaging with a digital system to be able to help them, there is a desire from customers to help manage and provide information to creditors.”
Lawyer Joseph Bowie, COO and head of lender services at Moray Group, said there was a need to put more control into the hands of the debtor, “Levels of forbearance have been beyond anything we have ever seen before, the responsibility was almost put back into the hands of the creditor,” said Bowie. “That responsibility needs to go back firmly into the hands of those responsible for the debts that have been incurred.”
Gerard Dugdill, publishing director at Credit Today, said: “We are grateful to Aryza for supporting this examination of current debt concerns, as well as the other panelists. We hope the concerns raised are noticed, and the right policies put in place to support both sides of the creditor-lender relationship.”
Note for editors
Aryza is sponsoring a year-long campaign with Credit Today, From Recovery to New Risks, with an H2 focus on Getting Credit Right.