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Banks move to tackle over-indebtedness

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Consumers could benefit from a joint campaign between a number of high street banks and Callcredit, a credit reference agency, to launch a responsible lending initiative dealing with consumer indebtedness.

HBOS, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and RBS are all involved in the programme to improve lenders’ understanding of their customers’ indebtedness and ability to make repayments. They will share application information on income and current accounts with Callcredit. This will allow assessment of affordability by measuring a consumer’s ability to meet their credit commitments.

Callcredit will then be able to produce an indebtedness report for each of the participant’s customers. The banks will also have access to reports on customers who are severely over-indebted and need advice; those whose financial positions should be closely monitored; and daily alerts of customers whose changing levels of indebtedness might be a cause for concern.

Managing director of Callcredit, John McAndrew, said: “The Government wants more customer protection for borrowers and the lenders want to provide a better service to their customers. We are delighted to have been able to help the industry achieve this. It is true that only a small percentage of customers are over-indebted and our initiative provides additional opportunities to offer these customers appropriate advice and support.”

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