When financial difficulty hits just 29% contact lenders

Ryan Bembridge

January 26, 2016

Less than a third (29%) of people would go to their mortgage provider in times of financial crisis, an online YouGov survey commissioned by Equifax has revealed.

A greater proportion (45%) of UK adults would instead go to their utility providers.

More than two in five (42%) people have experienced stress or anxiety due to financial difficulties at some time or another – and the majority (58%) are unaware that financial organisations and utility providers have a responsibility to help consumers if they get in financial trouble.

Jake Ranson, banking & financial institutions director, Equifax UK and Ireland, said: “People are often embarrassed about struggling with money and the actual number of individuals affected could be substantially higher than the survey indicates.

“Many things can cause a person to experience financial difficulty, from falling ill and missing work to losing their job. Our research suggests that there’s a reluctance to discuss issues with lenders, and highlights a lack of awareness about the support available to help if you fall behind with repayments.

“It is important that people notify the relevant organisation at the first sign of trouble so they can provide the necessary support. All organisations lending money have a regulatory obligation to identify customers that are financially vulnerable and treat them fairly.

“When someone is genuinely struggling to make payments companies can employ a range of tools to help, for example providing more time for payments to be made.”

When faced with financial difficulties people are most likely to confide in a partner (48%) or a family member (46%).

People would be willing to have open discussions with companies they owe money to if they found themselves struggling to make payments. Three in five (62%) said they would be willing to provide additional information, for example about their income or monthly spending, to help that company provide support them.

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