Lenders told to do more, faster, for borrowers in difficulty

41% of those having difficulty paying their mortgage do not seek advice in dealing with their problems. This is despite the fact that seven out of eight of those in difficulty thought their problems were serious.

These claims were made by Adam Phillips, chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, on a speech to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Of those who did seek advice, 65% went to their mortgage lender, while one in four went to Citizens’ Advice (CAB). Phillips said consumer experience of lenders’ advice was mixed: some felt their mortgage lender was unhelpful and inflexible, whereas others felt their provider did all they could reasonably do to help them.

the FSCP chairman said it appeared that the most significant driver for those who do not seek advice is not a lack of awareness of or difficulty in accessing advice services per se, but rather their perceptions of the advice sector and their own situation. These perceptions can lead consumers to conclude that seeking advice is either unnecessary or inappropriate for them. This demonstrates clearly that more needs to be done to change consumers’ behaviour and perceptions of what already exists, he added.

Phillips said: “When people get into difficulty with their mortgages