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Borrowing Falling But Brits Face 'Debt Legacy'

Aug 18, 2007
Despite recent reports of a fall in borrowing Britons are still set to experience debt problems, an industry expert has warned.

According to James Falla, director of Thomas Charles, the announcement from the British Bankers' Association (BBA) that an increasing number of borrowers are looking to pay off more debts accrued on credit cards rather than opt to take out new loans to fund their spending.

"Perhaps the message is starting to get through [and] additional borrowing is starting to reduce. But let's not get too comfortable, because what about all the legacy of borrowing that's already happened?" Mr Falla said. However, he pointed out that the debt management firm is not seeing a fall in those looking for help on debt problems.

He added that although he "applauds" any work being carried out now to limit unnecessary borrowing, "it's the legacy of the last fifteen or twenty years of lending that we are now dealing with". Mr Falla also claimed that despite statistics indicating a fall in credit card use a "large number of people" are still struggling with debt management and are experiencing difficulties paying off personal loans. "My concern would be all the borrowing that has already happened," he asserted.

The director also advised that Britons should look to get into the "routine of saving money" either for times in the year where they know their spending will increase, such as Christmas, or just for putting away in case of a 'rainy day' to help them cope with debt difficulties and repaying loans.

He pointed to a commonly held view that consumers have curbed their borrowing because of the effects recent rises to the base rate by the Bank of England's monetary policy committee (MPC) have had on secured loan costs, in addition to increased daily living expenses and slowing income growth. However, Mr Falla reported that could be more complex, suggesting that more research is needed into "who spends money" claiming that those living in the south-east of England have witnessed "massive increases" in salaries and bonuses over recent times.

Meanwhile, he suggested that the BBA figures are generally indicative of a "seasonal trend in spending" in which consumer personal loan uptake curbs in the wake after the Easter period before families start spending once more as they go prepare to go on their summer holidays. He said: "Certainly the November-December period is a big period of spending. And then it falls during January and rises to Easter - because Easter's quite a big period of spending - and then after Easter you do tend to see people reducing down."

"Then we're in to the July-August period with people going on holidays, booking holidays and using cards on holidays," Mr Falla added.

Consequently, it is more than advisable for Britons to plan their borrowing and personal loan expenditure wisely. Despite this, figures from financial firm CreditExpert indicated that consumers are lacking in 'financial etiquette'. Jim Hodgkins, managing director of CreditExpert, suggested: "We're regularly faced with financial etiquette dilemmas and as well as being important from a social standpoint, they're also significant financially."

Some two out of five consumers (42 per cent) are said to lend as much money as they can to friends who are in financial difficulty despite debt management advice being said to be the 'proper' thing to do. "If you're running up debts that you can't pay off, you could be damaging your credit rating," Mr Hodgkins stressed.

As a result, those consumers concerned about managing their finances over the next few months could be well advised to opt for a competitively priced debt consolidation loan.
About the Author
Abbi Rouse is Editor in Chief for All About Loans. Our visitors have access to online loans of all types: From home improvement loans to bad credit debt consolidation loans.
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