Onus of responsibility for lenders now – comment
“Even though we are seeing the cost of fuel coming down on forecourts across the country, everything else is becoming more expensive. The Prime Minister’s energy support package will undoubtedly make a difference, but if businesses don’t get the same support, then consumers will be paying higher prices across the board. Added to this we hear that, although we now have the lowest unemployment rate in almost 50 years with more jobs available than people to fill them, real wages are not keeping pace with rising costs. At the same time employers are already reporting having to increase wages to entice would be employees, this too will be a cost that will have to be passed on to consumers. We expect that the Bank of England will increase interest rates again next week, but it is difficult to see how, at this rate, it can do anything to alleviate increasing inflation.
“So for borrowers this is a time to take stock, as interest rates rise lenders will be forced into increasing mortgage rates. We have already seen the average rate pass 4%, which will of course put more pressure on households. The figures on arrears from the Bank of England yesterday showed that the value of mortgages in arrears fell in the second quarter, which is something of a false positive. This quarterly data is now months out of date and interest rates and inflation have been increasing since the end of the period. With this in mind it is only inevitable that the figures we will see in December for Q3 will show a reversal of this trend. For lenders there are sure to be a number of vulnerable borrowers that are already starting to worry and will need to know where they can get the help they need, before things get too late. The onus of responsibility is with lenders now to ensure that vulnerable clients get that help.”
Richard Pike, chief sales and marketing officer, Phoebus