Latest data shows that 13,659* people contacted the FOS for help
Matt Sanders, Gocompare.com’s mortgage spokesman, said: “These are worrying figures. The first steps with dealing with any financial difficulty is talking to the right people, whether that is your bank, your mortgage provider or another service provider who can help – the crucial thing is not to bury your head in the sand and to deal with it as soon as possible.
“These figures show that a third of people who sought help from the FOS, had already slipped into arrears – so it’s clear that mortgage providers’ “talk to us” message isn’t getting across. More needs to be done.”
Matt added: “The new mortgage application process resulting from the FCA’s mortgage market review (MMR) will hopefully do a lot to prevent borrowers from entering into unrealistic and unmaintainable financial agreements, but the onus shouldn’t just be on the borrowers. Lenders should also be creative and flexible about the options they offer people who are finding themselves in difficulty, rather than compound the problem by just slamming them with more late payment fees and interest.
“Late payment fees and added interest may act as an incentive not to miss payments for some, but sometimes missing the odd payment is unavoidable and borrowers should be given help and support to maintain payments, rather than add to their financial burden. The carrot is better than the stick when it comes to helping people out of monetary strife.”
Notes to editors:
*Financial Ombudsman Service figures for the financial year 2013/14.