Thursday 19 October 2017

One in three adults missed a loan repayment over past five years

A total of 1,500 people were surveyed Photo: PA
A total of 1,500 people were surveyed Photo: PA

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Thousands of people have missed repayments on their mortgages and credit cards over the past five years.

One in three adults admits they missed a loan repayment over the past five years.

The most common reason given for missing a mortgage payment was a reduction in household income, with others citing a general rise in the cost of living.

Some four out of ten people admitted missing at least one mortgage payment since 2012, research conducted by Empathy for mortgage lender Pepper Money shows.

A total of 1,500 people were surveyed, with more detailed questions asked of 500 of these who said they missed loan repayments.

The survey is one of the first to ask people if they have missed payments.

The Central Bank produces mortgage arrears figures, showing one in ten behind on their payments, but there are no readily-available statistics on missed payments for other loans.

Nine out of ten of those missed repayments said they had got behind on at least one credit card bill, according to the Empathy research.

Half of these said the main reason for this was that it had slipped their mind.

Nearly half of those who missed a payment said they had found themselves unexpectedly unemployed in the past, the research, seen by the Irish Independent, shows.

The Pepper-commissioned research shows that missed repayments are impacting consumers’ ability to access finance.

The majority of those who have missed a financial payment believe that having a mark on their credit history or a previous credit rejection will make it more difficult for them  to access loans in the future.

The inability to access finance impacting lives and causing distress, Pepper Money said.

One third say their accommodation options have been limited as a result of their previous missed payment. These people say they are living in cramped accommodation, are unable to buy their first home, and can’t trade up.

One quarter said they were being held back from purchasing a car or going on holiday, while a similar number said the inability to access finance was negatively impacting their health.

Barry Delaney of Pepper Money said the economic crisis has left thousands of people with damaged credit histories.

“Although the majority of people are now recovered and meeting their financial obligations, many are still effectively stuck or locked out of the market and this is having a real impact on people’s lives,” he said.

Pepper Money is an Australian-owned mortgage lender with operations in Dublin and Shannon.

It specialises in mortgages for those with impaired credit records and those with non-standard jobs.

Pepper also services of legacy loan books that were once owned by financial institutions who quit the market following the global financial crash in 2008. These include Danske Bank.

It is currently managing about €17bn in loans, split roughly 50-50 between commercial and residential.

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