Debt Management

Debt Management

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This report highlights four main areas of ongoing concern relating to debt management: regulation of consumer debt, payday loans, debt management companies and the Money Advice Service. It makes a number of recommendations for future Government action including reforms for higher licensing fees to be charged for higher-risk credit businesses, for a fast track procedure be put in place to suspend credit licenses, and for the new regulator be given the power to ban harmful products. The Financial Services Bill did little to clarify the way in which the consumer credit market is to be regulated. The Committee also wants be certain that the payday loan industry adheres to the highest standards - either through the codes of practice that are currently being developed or, failing that, by the new regulator. Regulations also need to be introduced to ensure that debt management companies publish the cost of their debt advice and their outcomes, if an agreement cannot be reached during discussions with the industry. Furthermore, effective auditing of debt management companies' client accounts needs to be established. The Money Advice Service needs to provide details of its business plan. Given that the legal aid budget for such services is being cut by 75% the Minister's assertion that there will be no diminution of face-to-face debt advice is confusing. The Money Advice Service will be up and running by April and yet its remit, and in particular its relationship with highly respected brands such as Citizens Advice, remains unclearCaroline Walton: When customers are coming into the Money Shop store, for example, to take out a payday loan, they have to go through an assessment. ... for example, of the paucity of information in credit reference agencies, particularly the further down the income scale you go. ... All those things would be really quite helpful to make sure that we are not inviting people who cannot afford to repay.

Title:Debt Management
Author:Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Business, Innovation and Skills Committee
Publisher:The Stationery Office - 2012-03-01


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