Homeowners reluctant to seek help over mortgages

| July 8, 2009 | 0 Comments

Homeowners struggling with mortgage repayments can be shy in talking about their difficulties, despite pleas from lenders and debt charities to seek help and advice early.

According to research from the Financial Services Consumer Panel (FSCP), 41% of those having difficulty paying their home loans struggle on unaided, even though seven out of eight borrowers in this group defined their problems as “serious”.

Of those who did seek advice, 65% contacted their mortgage lender and 25% approached the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

The Panel, which aims to be an independent voice for consumers of financial services, reported a mixed response from lenders.

Some were described by borrowers as “unhelpful and inflexible”, whereas others did all that could reasonably be expected.

The research also found that the most significant driver for those not seeking advice was their perception of the advice sector and their own situation.

In some cases this led consumers to believe that seeking advice was either unnecessary or inappropriate for them.

FSCP chairman, Adam Phillips, comments: “There is an urgent need for more investment in publicising and supporting sources of information and advice in this area. We need to do much more to encourage consumers in difficulty to get advice early.”

He adds: “Debt advice agencies must not be seen as a last resort when all else has failed.”

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