Managing the deficit is a phrase that appears to have replaced the panic following the disastrous and out of control antics of the world’s financial institutions, the effects of which are still felt today, most acutely at high street level. People who one would least expect to find in financial difficulties have found themselves at the mercy of ‘contracted-out’ debt collectors, as their financial status: credit ratings, plummet through the earths crust. The banks, credit cards and all other lenders that have employed debt collecting companies to claw back as much as they possibly can. I interviewed someone recently who, because of the banks ineptitude (RBS) was forced to sell his home, though managed to pay off an outstanding mortgage of £60,000, but has yet to receive as much as a receipt or a note of thanks from the bank. Another bank (Nationwide) told him that if he didn’t pay back, or agree to a payment plan at their discretion a credit card loan of £2,200, they would take him to the county court to have the loan attached to his new home via a county court judgement, therefore ensuring payment to the bank above all others on the eventual sale at some future date.
Another high street bank, HSBC, refused to acknowledge that the debt collectors that were chasing him were actually a division of the same bank, yet internally was unable to talk with, or communicate in any way, with each other. The irony is, he told me, that this time two year s ago his total debt amounted to something like £80 to £90,000 (including outstanding mortgage) and his credit rating was perfect. Today his total debt is no more than £7,000, yet because of the banks faceless inflexibility, ignorance, and continued ineptitude, his credit rating with the three main agencies is virtually zero. There is now no difference between the pay-day lenders and all the others who refuse to treat their customers with dignity.