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The latest news on loans and lending:

February 24, 2012

OFT to investigate payday loan companies

by Jan Harris
OFT to investigate payday loan companies
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is to investigate Payday lenders over concern that they may be encouraging people to take out loans without checking that they can afford to repay them. Payday lenders offer short-term loans at very high interest rates and while these can be affordable if they are paid back at the end of the term – ...




January 27, 2012

Payday lenders face tighter regulations

by Jan Harris
Payday lenders face tighter regulations
The government’s Financial Services Bill, which was presented to Parliament today, could see Payday loan companies facing much tighter regulation. Payday loans are designed to provide emergency funds for a short period of time. Amounts of between £50 and £1,000 are offered on weekly or monthly terms for a charge of around £30 for every £100 borrowed. If the loan is ...




January 12, 2012

Wonga causes outrage by targeting students

by Jan Harris
Wonga causes outrage by targeting students
Payday loan company Wonga has removed an article from its website which suggested that students should take out a payday loan rather than a Student Loan. The article suggested that student loans, which charge around 5 per cent, encouraged students to live beyond their means. With Wonga charging around 4,000 per cent for its loans, the article provoked protests from education groups, ...




January 9, 2012

Doorstep lenders lose 1.4 million customer records

by Jan Harris
Doorstep lenders lose 1.4 million customer records
Financial Services Limited and Shopacheck, which are both part of the Cattles Group, are writing to 1.4 million customers, warning them that back-up storage tapes containing their personal details have been lost. The storage tapes contained the names, addresses and payment histories of 600,000 customers and the names and addresses of another 800,000. They also contained HR data about 18,000 current ...




January 5, 2012

Personal loan rates on downward trend

by Jan Harris
Personal loan rates on downward trend
Marks & Spencer Money is offering borrowers a personal loan at a rate of just 6 per cent. This represents the lowest rate since 2008 when Moneyback Bank was offering 5.8 per cent, while just one year ago Tesco Bank offered the lowest loan rate, of 8.4 per cent. Marks & Spencer Money’s 6% deal is for personal, unsecured loans of ...




December 15, 2011

Student Loans Company warns of phishing attack

by Jan Harris
Student Loans Company warns of phishing attack
The Student Loans Company is contacting customers who it believes may have had their personal details compromised as a result of a phishing attack. The email attack was designed to steal students’ personal details and the company is advising students that a genuine email from the company would never ask them to divulge personal or financial information such as bank ...




November 25, 2011

Guidelines tackle unfair practices by credit brokers

by Jan Harris
Guidelines tackle unfair practices by credit brokers
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has today published guidelines which should help to stamp out unfair practices by credit brokers and intermediaries. The guidance also clarifies the responsibilities of businesses who take referrals from credit brokers. Earlier this year Citizen’s Advice complained to the OFT that credit brokers were cold-calling consumers and offering loans that they had no intention ...




August 22, 2011

Loan scam complaints up 50%

by Gill Montia
Loan scam complaints up 50%
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning people to steer clear of scam loan companies that take upfront fees but fail to provide credit, or offer unsuitable credit alternatives. The watchdog has seen a 50% year-on-year rise in complaints about loan scams, particularly credit applications that involve upfront fees sent through money transfer companies. It has therefore issued key "dos and ...




August 5, 2011

UK banks on track to meet Project Merlin targets

by Kay Mitchell
”UK
Provisional figures released today have revealed that the UK's five biggest banks are on track to meet their lending targets under the Project Merlin deal. Under the agreement, Project Merlin, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, HSBC and Santander all committed to lend £190 billion to all businesses this year. Of this figure, around £76 billion of credit should be ...




July 11, 2011

Study reveals SMEs are getting credit

by Kay Mitchell
”Study
A report has revealed that the majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are successful when applying for credit. According to the study, more than half (59%) of applicants were successful when applying for a loan, while 72% who applied for an overdraft were successful. The figures come from the latest SME Finance Monitor report by market research firm BDRC Continental, which questioned ...




May 23, 2011

Big five banks miss SME lending target

by Kay Mitchell
”Big
Figures published by the Bank of England today have revealed that the “big five” banks loaned £16.8 billion to SMEs in the first quarter – around £2 billion short of the £19 billion target – agreed under the “Project Merlin”. Under the agreement, Project Merlin, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, HSBC and Santander all committed to lend £190 billion to ...




October 11, 2010

Ministers consider higher interest rate on student loans

by Kay Mitchell
”Ministers
A higher education funding review is likely to see a shake-up in the way interest is charged on student loans. The review, by Lord Browne, suggested a variable interest rate on student loans was a favoured option. Currently, students pay back their loans when they earn over £15,000 a year, at a low interest rate. The review is expected to recommend removing ...




September 23, 2010

My Home Finance launched for those unable to secure a loan

by Kay Mitchell
”My
The coalition Government has introduced a new scheme aimed at borrowers with a poor credit history or those on a low income. My Home Finance has been set up by the Government and the National Housing Federation (NHF), with 10 branches opening across the West Midlands by the end of next month. If successful, the scheme will expand ...




September 20, 2010

Report reveals lenders not passing on base rate cuts

by Kay Mitchell
”Report
The Bank of England's Quarterly Bulletin has revealed that High Street banks have not been passing on base rate cuts in full. Interest rates have been held at the record low of 0.5% since March 2009 (when the country was in the midst of its worst recession in decades), but despite this, banks are not passing this saving on ...




Survey finds credit availability has not improved

by Kay Mitchell
”Survey
A survey by the EEF engineering group has discovered that British companies are still struggling to obtain credit. According to the manufacturers' organisation, credit is more expensive today than two months ago. The claim comes despite calls from the Government and business leaders to increase lending to businesses. Commenting on its report, Lee Hopley, the chief economist of the EEF, said: "The recession ...




August 15, 2010

Research shows 1.2m taking out payday loan each year

by Kay Mitchell
”Research
According to research by watchdog Consumer Focus, the number of people taking out a payday loan has quadrupled in the last 4 years. The consumer group said 1.2 million people are now taking out a payday loan every year - borrowing more than £1 billion. Payday loans are becoming more popular and are seen as attractive - particularly to ...




July 27, 2010

Anti-poverty banker to star in The Simpsons

by David Masters
Anti-poverty banker to star in the Simpsons
The Bangladeshi anti-poverty banker Muhammad Yunus is to feature in an episode of hit TV cartoon The Simpsons. Yunus, whose pioneering work on micro-finance earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, will appear in the TV show as a cartoon version of himself. The episode will focus on his micro-credit work in Bangladesh, which has helped to lift millions of people ...




Lloyds confirms it will cease selling PPI

by Kay Mitchell
”Lloyds
Banking giant Lloyds has confirmed it will no longer sell the controversial payment protection insurance (PPI). Lloyds Banking Group, which is 41% owned by the taxpayer, is the first bank to drop PPI sales and the decision will apply to customers of all its brands including the Halifax, Bank of Scotland and the Cheltenham & Gloucester. Under a PPI policy, an agreed ...




July 20, 2010

Triodos and Charity Bank on track for record lending

by David Masters
Triodos and Charity Bank on track for record lending
Mid-year figures from Charity Bank and Triodos Bank show both lenders are on track for a record year of lending. During the first six months of this year, Charity bank agreed £20.9 million of new loans. This is compared to a total of £22.9 million for the whole of 2009. Figures from Triodos show new lending for the first ...




July 14, 2010

‘Era of debt-fuelled consumerism over’

by David Masters
'Era of debt-fuelled consumerism over'
The era of debt-fuelled consumer spending is over, a financial expert has claimed, pointing out Britain's consumer debts of nearly £1.5 trillion. Tim Moss, head of loans at moneysupermarket.com, seemed to be talking himself out of a job by claiming consumers can no longer afford to fund purchases on borrowed money. Consumers must face up to their financial situation and not "bury their heads ...