From 1st July the Council of Mortgage Lenders is integrated into a new trade association, UK Finance. For the time being, all UKF mortgage information will continue to be published on this website, and UKF member-only mortgage information will only be available here.

UK Finance represents around 300 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payment-related services. The new organisation takes on most of the activities previously carried out by the Asset Based Finance Association, the British Bankers’ Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association. Please go to www.ukfinance.org.uk for wider content and updates from UK Finance.

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Arrears and possessions at lowest since 2007

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Published: 18 February 2014 | Author: Bernard Clarke

The number of properties taken into possession last year was the lowest since 2007, according to data we published earlier this month. At 28,900, total possessions were nearly 15% lower than in 2012.

The number of possession cases has been falling since peaking at almost 49,000 in 2009, helped by a combination of low interest rates, relatively strong employment, the commitment of borrowers in prioritising mortgage debt and effective arrears management.

Mortgage arrears have also been falling since 2009. At the end of last year, the number of loans in arrears of 2.5% or more of the balance stood at 144,700, 8% fewer than the total of almost 158,000 at the end of 2012.

Encouragingly, data from the last quarter of 2013 showed a decline in the number of arrears cases across all bands – even for those with the highest levels of outstanding debt (10% or more of the outstanding balance).

But, despite the continuing decline in mortgage arrears and possessions, the industry remains committed to delivering further improvement where possible. 

With that in mind, we are organising a conference next month, Mitigating future risks in collections and recoveries - where do we go from here? The event, which will focus on the practicalities of lenders’ policies, processes and strategies in delivering good outcomes for consumers, will be held at the Midland Hotel, Manchester, on 12 March. We are now taking online bookings for this event.

Lenders recognise that borrowers can be knocked off track by a temporary change in circumstances, but most are able to recover their position with help. It is crucial, however, for those facing difficulty to talk to their lender as soon as possible.  Firms will work with individual borrowers to help devise a plan to get them back on track and sustain their home-ownership in the long run.