The Financial Conduct Authority’s Woolard Review, published today, looks at change and innovation in the unsecured credit market to make it work well for consumers. It sets out recommendations for the FCA, Government, and other bodies to address urgent and longer-term issues from regulating ‘buy now, pay later’ products, to a fair funding settlement for free debt advice, and improving the credit information market.
One recommendation which may not make the headlines but is a huge step for improving the County Court Judgment (CCJ) process and is something that our Chairman Mick McAteer called for last year (see this blog), is to make it mandatory for firms to report ‘satisfied judgments’.
As the report says: “CCJs can have a significant impact on a consumer’s credit file, limiting their access to credit. Respondents pointed out that many consumers may not be aware that they have a CCJ against them, for instance where they have changed address and did not receive the notification. This means that even if they repay the debt, they do not know to inform the Court that the debt is satisfied and so the CCJ remains on their file.”
The report goes on to say: “However, creditors are in a position to know both that a CCJ has been taken out and whether the debt has been settled. It would therefore seem appropriate and efficient for creditors to bear the responsibility of informing the Courts where debts have been settled. This would improve the quality of credit information and outcomes for both consumers and lenders.”
As the organisation that maintains the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves! We see first-hand the impact that ‘unsatisfied’ judgments on the Register can have on skewing not only our data but also credit information and consumers’ financial wellness and resilience. This seemingly small change could make a huge difference, not just to consumers but also to debt and money advisers who currently have responsibility for supporting their clients in going through this process to ‘satisfy’ CCJ debts once they have been paid.
Read some of our other recent blogs to understand more about why ‘getting satisfaction’ is so important when it comes to CCJs here and read more about the other recommendations within the Woolard Review here.
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