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Debt advice agencies ‘swamped.’

As a nation we owe about ?233bn on credit cards, overdrafts and other loans, according to the Bank of England. So it may come as no surprise that during the credit crunch, when people have been facing the prospect of losing their jobs or even their homes, that addressing one’s personal debt level has become an increasing priority for many.

“Advice agencies have been swamped with a tidal wave of cases [in relation to debt] as a result of the credit crunch,” Chris Pond, head of financial capability at the Financial Services Authority, told the BBC.

“None of the agencies who give face-to-face debt advice have got the capacity to deal with the recession,” says Sarah Divine, debt adviser at the CAB in

East Staffordshire. “Our waiting lists have got longer. At times clients are waiting up to eight weeks to be seen.”

The CAB acknowledges this and also says branches have been able to extend their opening hours thanks to a grant received at the beginning of the year.

But they are still struggling to deal with the numbers coming through their doors.

“We have been referring people to other organisations,” says Ms Divine.

 

Commenting on the BBC coverage Nick Pearson, Director of External Affairs at Debt Solutions provider, Paymex Group, said ?The figures from the CAB Service show that commercial debt advice providers have a crucial role to play in meeting the demand for debt advice over coming years. We are currently taking to representatives from the main political parties to explain how responsible commercial providers can work with free providers to ensure than everyone who needs debt advice can access it.?

(Source www.bbc.co.uk)

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