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Debt Collection News Roundup – February, 2018

Here at Access Credit Management we like to make sure we bring our readers interesting and relevant news about our industry so once a month we’ll be publishing a News Roundup.  This should keep you up to speed with all the important goings on within the sector so that you have a resource that keeps you fully informed of all the latest news.  It would be interesting to know what you, the readers, think of the stories that feature here.  Please join in by adding your comments on our Facebook page, tweeting on Twitter or email us if you come across anything that you think we should include.

Our first news item is about Interserve, a multinational support services and construction company (similar to Carillion which went into liquidation in January, causing a huge headache for the government).  Interserve has its headquarters in Reading and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.  However, civil servants have been watching Interserve closely since it issued a profit warning last September and shares have fallen 15%.  The company employs around 25,000 people in the UK, providing construction, healthcare, cleaning, security and probation services.  Despite the fact that some of Interserve’s main creditors suffered large losses when Carillion went under, Interserve is struggling to put together a debt refinancing deal in order to survive.

According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, people with mental health issues are three times more likely to experience financial difficulties.  The Institute reckons that as many as 23,000 people in England struggled with problem debts last year while in hospital being treated for mental health problems and some receive calls and messages from debt collectors which exacerbates the stress.  The government has been urged to extend a “breathing space” scheme to include those with poor mental health.  This will stop the debts from increasing by freezing interest and charges and halting any enforcement action – however, to access the scheme at present, a person needs to be accessing psychiatric inpatient care or the care of a Crisis Resolution Team.      

British serial entrepreneur and businessman, Jamie Waller claims that we’re hooked on tech start-ups when we should, instead, be more appreciative of other, “unsexy” businesses here in the UK.  Jamie started out in business with a window cleaning round at 17 years or age and had a car sales yard by the age of 18.  He says that a business model that can scale and an entrepreneur with grit who understand how important profit is represents a good investment for investment companies such as Firestarter, his company which helps early stage businesses to grow. 

New rules unveiled by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) mean that from September lenders will have to offer extra help to those with persistent debts.  Customers will be asked to change their repayment plan or warned that their credit card would be cancelled, and in some cases, interest, fees and charges may be waived.  With four million credit card holders in persistent debt in the UK, the new rules could collectively save customers up to £310 million in lower interest charges.