UK financial watchdog asks banks to support struggling customers

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has called on 3,500 UK lenders to help support consumers struggling with the cost of living.

The regulator said that with household bills expected to rise in the Autumn, banks should “act now” to make sure customers struggling keep up with payments or those in vulnerable circumstances can access the help they need.

The authority explained that while there are examples of banks providing the right support, most firms “need to have better conversations” in order to understand individual customer circumstances and tailor support when it comes to repaying debt.

The organisation is concerned that some vulnerable customers are not getting the support they need, with some lenders not discussing the potential benefits of money guidance or free debt advice or helping and supporting borrowers to access these.

It said that more serious failings were found at over 30 financial institutions in the UK, largely in the consumer credit market.

“Early action is important for those struggling with debt,” said Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumers and competition at the FCA. “We need all firms to get the basics right and provide good quality support.

“Where we see more serious wrongdoing, we are already acting to ensure these firms improve.”

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