Second charge mortgage repossessions fall in Q2 2018

New figures released today by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that the number of second charge mortgage repossessions in Q2 2018 was 38, 2.6% lower than in the same quarter in 2017.

The annual rate of second charge mortgage repossessions (as a percentage of average outstanding agreements) in the twelve months to June 2018 was 0.09%.

Commenting on the figures, Geraldine Kilkelly, Head of Research and Chief Economist at the FLA, said:

“The latest figures show that the number of second charge mortgage repossessions remained low in the second quarter, and market expectations are for this to continue in the second half of 2018.

“If a customer is concerned about meeting payments they should speak to their lender as soon as possible to find a solution.”

3.8 million UK households to default on personal debt by 2022

The number of households in personal debt default is set to increase to 3.8 million by the end of 2022, up from 3.3 million at the end of 2017 according to the latest econometric forecast from Arrow Global’s ‘Debt Britain 2018’ research.

Arrow Global’s forecast is based upon analysis of the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) projections for interest rates, unemployment and consumer debt.

The 0.5 million increase is expected despite a slight dip in the total in 2019 and 2020, due to the lagged effect of the post-Brexit referendum bank base-rate cut and subdued unemployment. It will then resume an upwards trajectory to reach 3.8 million by the end of 2022.

From 2020 onwards Arrow Global expects mortgage possessions to rise more sharply as the recent base-rate increase and future rises push up borrowers’ costs.

The forecast also looks at the impact on default levels if the Bank of England increases the bank base rate at a faster rate than currently projected. If it is 0.5% higher than the OBR forecast, an additional 250,000 households will default by 2021.

Lee Rochford, Group Chief Executive Officer of Arrow Global comments: “While some debt default is to be expected due to changes in personal circumstances and economic factors, it is startling that an increase in the bank base rate by only 0.5% could lead quarter of a million more households to default.

“It is vital that people with debt problems are provided with support and as a responsible credit management services provider, we focus on helping people manage and repay their debt in a sustainable way.”

Comment: Unemployment drops to its lowest reading since 1975

“Recent labour market figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.0% in the three months to June, the lowest reading since 1975. At the same time, the number of vacancies rose to a new all-time high and the number of people on so called zero hours contracts fell to 780,000, down from 884,000 one year earlier.

‘Today’s data release is certainly good news for the British economy and highlights the healthy state of the labour market. Unfortunately, ultra-low unemployment rates do not translate into buoyant consumer spending at the moment, also because of real wage growth having slowed down in the second quarter, leaving households with no pay increases once inflation is taken into consideration. Given the elevated levels of uncertainty caused by Brexit, lower corporate investment is holding back productivity growth (which has been the Achilles’ heel of the British economy since the financial crisis) and despite the low unemployment rate, we continue to remain generally pessimistic about the UK’s economic outlook for the rest of the year.”

By Markus Kuger, Senior Economist at Dun & Bradstreet

Record entry levels for industry technology awards at UKCCC

A record number of entries have been reported for the Credit and Collections Technology Awards, devised by Credit Connect and hosted this year by The Credit Services Association (CSA) as part of the CSA Gala Dinner.

A shortlist of some 110 finalists from nearly 80 companies across 18 categories which include recognising best-in-class solutions across such complex issues as affordability, customer engagement, and compliance. As well as recognising businesses, the awards also recognise teams and individuals, with three industry executives shortlisted for ‘Innovator of the Year’, arguably the evening’s most anticipated award.

“Familiar names are joined by relative ‘newcomers’ to the industry, making the awards particularly diverse, fresh and exciting,” says Peter Wallwork, CSA CEO.

Now in its second year, the awards have been judged by an independent panel of industry experts who have examined excellence solutions in four different categories sections: credit, collections, credit & collections and innovation.

A full shortlist can be found here – http://awards.credit-connect.co.uk/enter-the-credit-collections-technology-awards

Moneyhub secures FCA authorisation to enable payments

Moneyhub has secured Payment Initiation Services Provider (PISP) authorisation by the FCA, cementing its place as a pioneer of open banking. The authorisation goes one step further from Account Information Services Provider (AISP) status, enabling seamless payments as well as visibility of all financial transactions across accounts in one place.

Alongside giving control of payments, income, expenditure, investments, pensions and savings, Moneyhub has also launched its API gateway. The gateway will offer the largest ‘one stop shop’ of personalised, permission based, financial data sources, and will give businesses’ own development teams access to the most comprehensive source of data streams, helping them to build innovative customer centric solutions.

Companies can benefit from the optimisation of these data sources, as the price, data richness and frequency of data update will be factored into an automated selection process to best suit the business model and customer requirements.

The Moneyhub API gateway has a unique pricing structure in that it offers the more traditional “per account” model but can also provide a “per user” model. The “per user” model aligns to most consumer propositions and for developers, it simplifies the integration of individuals with multiple accounts.

Samantha Seaton, CEO of Moneyhub, commented: “The introduction of Open Banking has been transformative for people’s relationships with their finances but its potential is only just being realised. We are delighted that as one of the first regulated providers of Open Banking technologies, we have been at the forefront of developing payment capabilities and have now secured FCA approval as a Payment Initiation Services Provider. This means we can empower our clients to advance their customer centric propositions. Frictionless Finance has arrived.”

“The end of tedious financial administration on the journey to ever increasing financial wellbeing starts here. We’re delighted to also launch our API gateway, which has the most comprehensive data sources. It will power a new wave of innovation that will revolutionise people’s relationship with money and the way they buy products and services.”

Moneyhub has worked closely with the Open Banking Implementation Entity to define the standard for UK Banking APIs, and continues to play a key role in the European Parliament’s PSD2 workshops which focuses on delivering innovative and secure payment solutions across the EU.

Moneyhub also provides Connect, a tool used by professionals that enables secure, real-time, two-way data sharing. It’s a secure, scalable platform that businesses can either deploy as a white labelled solution or integrate via API. This capability along with the breadth of data sources, industry expertise and pricing models means Moneyhub is able to help companies improve engagement and build innovative and effective strategies.

Cambridge framework for Distributed Ledger systems

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance publishes the “Distributed Ledger Technology Systems” report to provide a common terminology and framework for distributed ledger technology (DLT) systems.

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School today published a 109-page report on distributed ledger technology (DLT) systems that provides a formal definition and comparative framework for DLT systems.

The DLT ecosystem is currently plagued by the use of inconsistent definitions and lack of standardised terminology, so the report – entitled Distributed Ledger Technology Systems: A Conceptual Framework – provides an important practical structure in this fast-expanding area. (Please find a copy of the report attached at the bottom of this press release).

“The current inconsistency leads to frequent misunderstandings and misconceptions about the nature and capabilities of DLT systems,” said Michel Rauchs, CCAF Lead in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain. “In collaboration with an interdisciplinary group of researchers and industry experts, we have set out to provide a shared language and framework for the analysis and comparison of these systems.”

Specifically, the report sets out a list of key characteristics of a DLT system, which must be capable of ensuring: shared recordkeeping; multi-party consensus on a shared set of records; independent validation by each participant; evidence of non-consensual changes; and resistance to tampering.

The report also clarifies the forms of data within a DLT structure, by classifying the data as “transactions”, “logs”, “records”, “journals” and “ledger” – based on the extent the data has been processed by a DLT system’s network. The final outcome – the “ledger” – is defined as a set of records “held in common by a substantial proportion of network participants”.

Although DLT systems emerged conceptually back in 1982, and the “blockchain” concept can be traced to 1991, the recent flurry of interest and activity surrounding these technologies in the absence of a clear framework has resulted in the current inconsistency and confusion.

The report’s definitions and framework are designed to serve as a multi-dimensional tool for policymakers, industry participants, researchers and investors to gain a better understanding of the characteristics and inner workings of a DLT system, and the roles that various actors play in the system.

The framework is applied in the report to six case studies of existing DLT systems – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Alastria, Verified.me, and an anonymised DLT system – to illustrate its use for performing a comparative analysis.

A DLT system consists of three main layers (protocol, network, and data), which can be further broken down into a set of interconnected components and processes. It is the combination and interactions of these small and rather simple processes that together form a complex and dynamic system.

The report outlines various configuration options for each process and demonstrates how specific design choices can lead to different system properties and characteristics. A key takeaway is that trade-offs are inherent to DLT systems, and move along a spectrum according to specific security assumptions, threat models, and trust relationships.

Bryan Zhang, CCAF Executive Director and Co-Founder, says: “Without undertaking a systematic and holistic approach, attention and analysis can be narrowly devoted to fractions, parts, and the surface of the phenomenon, rather than the whole. By adopting a systems perspective, hopefully we can develop a more nuanced understanding of the complex and living DLT ecosystem.”

Cabot Credit Management delivers strong performance and continued growth as Encore takes the helm

Cabot Credit Management (Cabot), a market leader in European credit management services, today announced the financial results for the six months ending 30th June 2018.

Highlights
• Capital deployment of £160m at consistent returns
• Continued robust UK back book performance
• Servicing revenue +189% vs H1’17, now 22% of total revenue
• Underlying margins consistent with 2017 – last 12 month Adjusted EBITDA margin 63%
• On track to delivery £6m annual synergies from UK servicing restructure
• Maintaining balance sheet discipline – leverage stable at 4.2x with available liquidity at £153m at 30 June 2018
• Successfully executed bond exchange in July 2018, improving maturity profile and aligning covenants
• Encore acquisition of remaining interest in Cabot completed 24 July 2018

Ken Stannard, Chief Executive Officer, Cabot Credit Management, said: “As Encore announces the completion of its acquisition of the remaining interest in Cabot Credit Management, our company has yet again delivered an excellent quarter with year to date revenues growing 26% compared to the prior year, and delivering Adjusted EBITDA of £318m for the last twelve months.

“Wescot continues to perform strongly as it captures emerging market opportunities, with service revenue now representing 22% of our total revenue. “Our UK back book continues to provide consistent cash generation as we work with our customers to help them achieve their own financial recovery, with 72% of our payments generated from an average of 868,000 regular players each month, and breakage rates remaining at historically low levels.

“We continue to maintain a robust liquidity position, prudent leverage and strong track record of delivering results. This is reflected by the fact that Moody’s upgraded the long term rating of Cabot from B2 to B1 at the end of June and S&P put us on positive outlook. After the end of the quarter, we also successfully closed our bond exchange transaction, enabling us to improve our maturity profile and align bond covenants.”

Comment on the UK Arrears and possessions figures from Mark Pilling, Spicerhaart Corporate Sales

Mark Pilling, Spicerhaart Corporate Sales managing director, says “As much as arrears remain historically low, there is the danger that anyone on a tracker or SVR mortgage would be looking at affordability now that interest rates have increased. The governor of the Bank of England has already suggested that this will not be the last rate rise this year, which is likely to put more pressure on some people.

“UK Finance recently announced that lenders have signed up to agree common standards, which will help existing borrowers on reversion rates who, because of stricter affordability criteria, are ineligible to move to an alternative product. However, there are currently over 150,000 mortgage prisoners, but these proposals will only help 10,000 people initially, which is a drop in the ocean. For the other 140,000 there is a real threat that, as wages stagnate and they remain on high interest rates, they will fall into arrears. Although it is good that some progress has been made, it is important for lenders, and mortgage owners, to now be looking at all the cases on their books and finding ways to help their clients out of this situation.”

Noble Systems Receives Frost & Sullivan’s Customer Value Leadership Award for WEM Gamification Solutions

August, 2018: Noble Systems, a global leader in omnichannel contact centre technology solutions, has received Frost & Sullivan’s 2018 Customer Value Leadership Award for Workforce Engagement Management Gamification Solutions. Noble received the award based on its continual focus on providing complementary products that enhance employee engagement amongst today’s workforce, and the company’s overall foresight and strength.

The Frost & Sullivan North American Customer Value Leadership Awards are presented to companies that best demonstrate excellence in both customer and business impact, delivering customer value through products and services, offering superior value to customers and aiding them with increased revenues, profitability and reduced costs. These two sides work together to make customers feel confident in their products’ quality and value throughout the life of the product.

Noble Systems’ offerings for Workforce Engagement Management and Gamification accelerate its customers’ ability to both differentiate themselves in the market and increase their bottom line. The area of WEM exemplifies how Noble Systems provides significant value to customers, from the company’s ShiftTrack WFM solution, which provides many features that take into account worker preferences, to its new Noble Gamification product, which brings customers a wealth of benefits, including exceptional agent and supervisor engagement, cost reduction, quick measurable results and solid return on investment. Read the full Report to learn more.

“We use a number of specific criteria to evaluate award candidates and assess their fit with select best practice criteria, especially noting an organisation’s ability in three key areas: understanding demand, nurturing the brand and competitive differentiation of its products and services”, said Nancy Jamison, Principal Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “Frost & Sullivan found that Noble Systems excels in many areas, including its brand longevity and breadth of offering, history of design and innovation and responsiveness to customer needs. When customers purchase Noble products they feel they are buying the most optimal solution that addresses both their unique needs and their unique constraints”.

Chris Hodges, SVP sales and marketing at Noble Systems, states, “Noble Systems delivers added value for our clients by offering the most complete customer communications platform available from a single vendor, including our patented solutions for omnichannel contact management, workforce engagement and gamification, compliance and analytics solutions, and the ability to deploy our systems in premise, cloud or hybrid models without sacrificing features or performance. We are honoured to be recognised by Frost & Sullivan for our best-in-market solutions and commitment to building long-term partnerships that exceed our customers’ expectations”.

Satisfactions down despite increase in judgments

The total number of defaults and small claims judgments issued in Northern Ireland during the first half of the year rose to the highest levels since 2012, according to figures released today by Registry Trust. However, the percentage of judgments marked as satisfied was just a fifth of the percentage satisfied in England and Wales during the same period.

Registry Trust is the non-profit organisation which collects judgment information throughout the British Isles and Ireland. In Northern Ireland it collects information on defaults and small claims judgments, and High Court judgments. A judgment is a warning that debt may be out of control.

There were 4,603 small claims judgments in Q1 and Q2 2018, 12 percent more than during the same period of last year and the highest total for the first half of the year since 2012.

The average small claims judgment decreased one percent to £2,019; combined these changes led to a 12 percent rise in the total value of small claims judgments.

In the High Court 35 judgments were registered, 40 fewer than during the first half of 2017. The average High Court judgment halved in value, leading to a 77 percent fall in the total value of judgments.

During Q1 and Q2 2018, 2.93 percent of judgments were marked as satisfied. This contrasts with 14.54 percent in England and Wales, where satisfaction rates are generally higher owing to differences between legal systems.

A judgment is marked as satisfied if it is paid or settled and Registry Trust is informed.

Trust chairman Malcolm Hurlston CBE advised people who had paid back: “If you have satisfied a judgment, tell Registry Trust and we shall let credit reference agencies know. Then you are likely to find borrowing easier and cheaper. You need to tell us, it doesn’t happen automatically. Fewer than a quarter of the people in Northern Ireland who pay back are getting the recognition they deserve.”

Registry Trust received 16,818 requests to search the register for Northern Ireland online at www.trustonline.org.uk during the first half of 2018. TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against consumers and businesses in any jurisdiction across the British Isles and Ireland. “It is a unique benefit for consumers to be able to check the debt record of any person or business with which they may be transacting,” said Mr Hurlston. “I would hesitate before transacting with any business which had a judgment on its record.”

Statistics

Defaults and small claims Q1 and Q2 2018 (compared with Q1 and Q2 2017)
Total number: 4,603 (up 12 percent)
Total value: £9.3m (up 12 percent)
Average: £2,019 (down one percent)
Median: £827 (down two percent)

High Court judgments Q1 and Q2 2018
Total number: 35 (down 40)
Total value: £2.9m (down 77 percent)
Average: £82,095 (down 50 percent)
Median: £51,814 (down 18 percent)