Responding to the latest figures from the CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders), debt management company Gregory Pennington has stressed the role which debt solutions addressing unsecured debt can play in helping people avoid repossession.
Released on May 15th, the CML’s figures show that 12,800 repossessions were carried out by first-charge mortgage lenders in the first quarter of 2009. “Compared with many predictions, these figures are relatively low,” said a spokesperson for Gregory Pennington. “Indeed, the CML itself has used the word ‘pessimistic’ in reference to its own estimate of 75,000 repossessions throughout 2009, and has recently revised this figure downwards to 65,000.
“It’s good to see lenders and borrowers working together to keep the figure as low as possible, but it’s important not to become complacent. There were still around 23% more repossessions in Q1 2009 than in the previous quarter – and 50% more than we saw in Q1 last year.
“Looking ahead, the repossession figures for the rest of 2009 are by no means set in stone. They depend not just on the state of the economy and the forbearance shown by secured lenders, but on the attitude of borrowers and unsecured lenders alike.
“In this recession, many people are suffering multiple ‘shocks’ at the same time. With 2.2 million unemployed and many others dealing with reduced wages, homeowners are also facing the issue of falling equity. While there’s no direct link between low (or negative) equity and repossession, this is limiting many homeowners’ ability to access ways of dealing with their debt – from debt consolidation loans and remortgaging to downsizing to a smaller property.
“It all underlines the importance of finding a solution that addresses a borrower’s priority and non-priority commitments at the same time. A founder member of DEMSA (the Debt Managers Standards Association), Gregory Pennington has 15 years’ experience of dealing with lenders of all kinds.
“Secured and unsecured lenders alike clearly have a thorough understanding of the problems consumers face today. They understand the link between secured and unsecured debt problems.
“Secured lenders know that many of today’s borrowers are facing complex financial problems, trying to deal with unsecured debts as well as secured.
“Unsecured lenders, in general, appreciate that a homeowner’s secured debts must take priority – and that repossession is unlikely to improve the borrower’s chances of repaying their unsecured debt.
“This is one reason unsecured lenders will often agree to the terms of an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement).”
A solution that’s designed to address the concerns of everyone involved, an IVA can help unsecured lenders recover as much of their money as realistically possible, and can help borrowers avoid the need to focus on their mortgage / rent at the expense of their unsecured debts. Insolvency Practitioners (IPs) achieve this by calculating how much the individual can realistically afford to repay per month after they’ve taken their mortgage / rent payments and other essential expenses into account.
“Even so, we always emphasise that entering an IVA is a serious step, and is by no means suitable for everyone facing debt problems. Depending on their situation, different homeowners may be better advised to consider alternative solutions to their debt problems.”