The Desperate Need For Greater Understanding Of Car Finance

Friday, 30. October 2015

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

Did I mention that I won the Innovation of the Year Award at the Frontline Solutions sponsored Finance & Insurance Awards 2015? Well in case I didn’t mention it – I did! And very proud of it I am too. Earlier in the day at the conference, speakers spoke about the motor finance industry and the need for much more education, not just for those selling the finance products such as dealers, brokers, banks, building societies and others but also customers who stand no chance if the people selling the products don’t have a grasp of the way the finance functions.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

To add to the confusion salesmen, anxious to make a sale, end up emphasising benefits that often don’t exist and certainly avoid telling clients anything that may put them off. For example a bank won’t tell you that an unsecured personal loan puts you at greater risk than a secured personal loan.

If you don’t repay your £2,000 loan that is secured against your house and you end up in court it would be very extreme for the judge to throw you and your family out on the street and order the sale of your house with maybe north of £100,000 equity in it for the sake of a £2,000 debt.

On the other hand if the £2,000 was ‘unsecured’ a court order could be issued and you could end up handing over valued possessions such as your TV, computer, jewellery etc. I always say that unsecured means unsecured against nothing in particular. So whilst explaining the finance they kind of miss that bit out albeit that it may be in the small print.

Oh and it doesn’t stop there, they could still go for your house if you don’t have enough value in your possessions in order to pay the debt, known as a charging order. This will force you to pay the debt back if and when you sell your house which is basically what happens when you take out a secured loan that you cannot repay. And that is the tip of the iceberg.

Many retail car salesemen don’t understand how contract hire (better known as a lease) works. But neither do customers and even accountants often miss some of the massive advantages attached to car leasing. At the other extreme there are customers whom, having taken a car on a lease, suddenly become as expert as me! They simply tout around the market to find the cheapest deal but will it end up being the cheapest with so many opportunities to charge all sorts of ‘extras’ included in the contract?

The rates are often not fixed so between ordering the car and delivery you may find that the rates have increased by £30 per month as a result of a £1,000 increase in cost of the vehicle. There are also some ‘brokers’ who are not conforming to the new FCA rules, are not members of any trade association and possibly don’t have professional Indemnity Insurance or are just managing to survive and could be closed down before your car even gets delivered.

How will you deal with that situation? If he is shut down or goes bust what happens to the car you have on order? If the car was ordered by the broker the order will be cancelled and you could be back to square 1. See what I mean? There is more to education than just understanding the basic products.

That’s why I am in the midst of re-writing my best selling book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide and creating educational videos to make sure you understand the upsides, downsides and matters relating to vehicle finance. Watch this space for future announcements and products. By Graham Hill

Another Example Of Manufacturers Not Meeting Legal Obligations

Tuesday, 3. February 2015

I’m in the process of setting up a new marketing business that will give those who sign into my new scheme access to a wide range of discounts and bonuses from cheap MOT, servicing and repairs to cheap subscriptions to motor magazines, special offers on tyres, discounts or added free benefits to roadside breakdowns and much more.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

One of the latest developments is the addition of cheap legal advice from legal specialists. The need for such a service was highlighted when I read about the buyer of a new Audi A1which developed a fault after just 2 days.

The car was taken back by the supplying dealer for him to repair but after 2 weeks the fault had only just been identified as a fault with the ABS control unit. Unfortunately the dealer couldn’t find a fix so the driver, quite rightly demanded a replacement car. After a lot of buggering about without a solution the driver involved Auto Express who contacted Audi who agreed that the driver should have the car replaced.

By this stage I would have been on Audi’s rooftop with their MD dangling by his boot laces pleading to supply a new car even if he had to go to Germany to collect it himself. It is your legal right as well as claim compensation. In the end and no doubt as a gesture of bloody goodwill the driver not only had the car replaced but had the spec. upgraded to an S-Line.

We need a legal helpline for drivers to access in order to get rid of all the ignorance that exists about buyers legal rights. Watch this space, lots of exciting things happening this year. By Graham Hill

Does Your Car Have The Right Number Plate?

Monday, 12. January 2015

Having a blog means that I get to hear some very dopey stories. The latest was a car that was delivered by transporter to a customer. As excited as he was about driving his new car something wasn’t right.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

He couldn’t put his finger on it but each time he walked towards the car a bell was ringing in his head but what was it? He walked all around the car trying to find a dent or something obviously wrong but could find nothing. After two days of driving the car he realised what it was, there was something wrong with the registration number.

He checked his agreement and realised that the car had been issued with a different number to his agreement. As it turned out there were two identical cars on the transporter, delivered on the same day to two different customers. Whether the dealer had issued the paperwork incorrectly or the delivery driver dropped the cars off to the wrong owners I couldn’t get to the bottom of, but as both cars were insured by the drivers on the other’s registration neither were insured to drive the car they were driving.

The fact is that they may never have known until the cars were returned or sold – how crazy is that? The other driver didn’t have a clue but apparently went loopy when he was told! And I don’t blame him!

The two drivers had their cars swapped and received a free first service. So when you have your car delivered check that the registration number agrees with your documents. By Graham Hill

The Difference Between A Car Mechanic & Fitter Explained

Tuesday, 23. September 2014

When you take your car in for servicing or repair is it dealt with by a fitter or a mechanic. Personally, until recently, I didn’t know the difference and frankly it isn’t something that keeps me awake at night.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

But in new guidelines issued by the Government, as part of its plans to licence garages, it apparently fails to identify the clear distinction between the two which has upset a few mechanics. So to clarify, a fitter is someone who simply changes components as recommended by the manufacturer/computer.

Whereas a mechanic is someone who needs a much greater understanding as to how things work. So there you have it, recognition at last for the mechanics who have been confused with those far less qualified fitters! By Graham Hill

Graham Hill Insists First Aid Should Be Taught In Schools

Monday, 22. September 2014

If you are a regular reader of my blogs/newsletters you will know that I am passionate about bringing into schools a new subject we could call – Life Skills. This should include basic things like cooking (partially covered already in schools), ironing, housekeeping and budgeting.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

Driving and early education about the dangers of driving should be included and even take the theory test in school. Finance should be included, how a loan works and how to take out a loan/mortgage/credit card and what you should do if you find yourself in difficulty. Another critical life skill is first aid. This should be taught at school and could save lives.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists and Driver First Assist (DFA) surveyed groups of motorists, 50% of whom said they would stop at an accident to assist if they arrived before the emergency services turned up but one in five wouldn’t administer first aid for fear of doing something wrong.

This is very bad. The DFA said training in reporting a crash correctly and life-saving first aid could cut deaths by 46%. That is staggering. It’s about time these life skills were introduced into the National Curriculum. By Graham Hill

Finance Application Successes And Failures Revealed

Wednesday, 18. June 2014

Following on from my last piece it seems that 1 in 6 applications for finance were rejected last year according to statistics revealed by OceanFinance.co.uk. It will be interesting to see how this compares to 2014 following the introduction of the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules in April of this year.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

They found that more than a third of the adult population (38.6%) applied for finance of some form or another over the last 12 months. This was an increase from 2013 when 33% applied for one or more of the popular credit products. Men are more likely to apply than women by quite a margin, 43.6% vs 34.4% over the last 12 months.

The age group most likely to apply for credit are 25 – 34 at 60.6% whilst only 17% of the over 55’s applied for credit according to the stats. The most likely decline would be if you apply for an overdraft at nearly one in five declines (18.6%). 16% of those applying for a personal loan get declined.

The good news for applicants last year, not so sure the same will apply this year, is that car finance applications were most successful with just 11% being rejected. Applications for a first mortgage was the type of  finance that lenders liked the most as they were most likely to be accepted, no doubt helped along by the Government incentives reducing the risk. 84.5% of all applications were accepted over the last 12 months.

The type of lender most likely to lend to applicants are what are known as ‘crowd lenders’ or ‘peer to peer lenders’ with an acceptance rate of 86%. It was also found that rather than operate a straight accept or decline process applicants were offered a higher rate of interest if they were felt to be higher risk, particularly when applying for credit cards.

I fear that this will all change dramatically over the coming year – for the worse! By Graham Hill

Heavy FCA Fines Make Life Difficult For Lenders

Tuesday, 17. June 2014

As the new rules imposed upon consumers and small businesses via lenders by the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) start to take affect there is a worrying undercurrent starting to gather momentum. Earlier this year I was in a meeting with directors of one of the biggest lenders in the car finance industry.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

I asked what they believed the effect would be of the forthcoming FCA regulations and the rules that had started to filter through. Their response was, at the time, quite dismissive. They pointed out that they had been in the motor finance industry since 1959 and by now they actually knew how to underwrite a customer.

Whilst they weren’t prepared to share actual numbers with me they explained that the amount of delinquency was minimal (that’s the amount of defaults and arrears) and it was certainly manageable so the idea of a Government body telling them what they needed to look out for when underwriting a customer was frankly – ludicrous!

The idea that you needed to carry out some strange affordability tests and have copies of umpteen bills and proofs was simply several steps too far. We all had a bit of a laugh, a cup of tea and a chocolate Hob Nob before moving onto the next item for discussion.

Fast forward a couple of months and that same company is suddenly asking for more information, copies of tax returns, 3 months bank statements and a tree’s worth of paperwork to prove the person is who they say they are. So what has happened? Fines, that’s what has happened. The lenders who are new to the rules of the FCA have been told that if they don’t tow the line they will be fined – and I mean FINED!

Last year the FSA and FCA dished out £472 million in fines, even what many would consider to be minor breaches attracted fines measured in tens of thousands of pounds. So suddenly lenders have had a wake up call and who suffers? Other than brokers like me, the customers – that’s you!

Let me give you an unbelievable example, traditionally lawyers have been extremely low risk applicants as they generally operate as partners which means that all of their personal assets are on the line when taking out finance. In a recent application, out of 5 partners 4 had houses worth over £1 million and not one had a mortgage, the fifth had a house worth £800,000 with a £200,000 mortgage on it.

The company had been trading over 20 years and neither the company nor the partners had a blemish against them. Perfect you would think. Ohhh no, we even had last 3 months bank statements available showing a balance never less than £70,000 but their year end is September so the last accounts to be completed were for September 2013, which had not been finalised so the last audited accounts available were 2012, too old for the lender, or should I say the FCA when testing for affordability.

The lender then wanted management accounts, which the company doesn’t run. As the senior partner pointed out, they make obscene amounts of money, as explained by their accountants once a quarter, so why would they need to know how much they spent on paper clips or stamps? So no accounts dated within the last 12 months and no management accounts – customer declined.

After appeal we managed an acceptance but with a much larger initial rental to which the customer said no – or words to that effect. The times are certainly changing and in my opinion – not for the better. But the real reason for writing this piece is to warn you if you are due to arrange finance for a new car.

First of all forget the fact that you have had finance before, many funders now ignore that totally, you will be treated as a brand new customer. Make sure that you prepare for finance as I explain in my book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide (available on Amazon), make sure that your last 3 months bank statements are looking good and if they don’t, wait till they do and make sure there are no returned (bounced cheques/direct debits) items on the statements, that would be a straight decline.

Get a copy of your credit report and see what it says, make sure there are no mistakes on there, it is simple enough and that extra bit of preparation could be the difference between getting a car or not. Oh and use a proper broker that can make sure that he can help you along the process, you often only have one shot at finance so don’t let a bucket shop blow it for you. By Graham Hill

Latest Mobile Phone Charger Contains 5 Charges

Sunday, 15. June 2014

You may remember the days when a mobile phone battery only lasted for 4 hours before it ran flat so the solution was to carry a spare battery that sat in the charger with the phone giving you 8 hours of standby time and 60 minutes of call time.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

Then the new batteries came along and increased substantially the standby time and talk time meaning that you could be out for a complete day and not think about the phone dying on you but what if you are nowhere near a USB connector or unable to plug in a charger? The answer could be a mobile charger.

You charge up the mobile charger which then stores enough electricity to charge your mobile around five times before the charger itself needs charging. Unfortunately the power pack takes around 5 hours to charge but given the extra range that it gives your mobile phone I don’t think that is too bad.

One such device is the Just Mobile Gum++ Charger which fits into the palm of your hand. It costs 69.95 Euros (£57) and can be bought online. Go and have a look by visiting www.just-mobile.eu well worth a look. Oh one last thing it can only be charged via a USB connector, it doesn’t come with a mains plug. By Graham Hill

Thief Reduces Cost Of Driver’s Insurance

Saturday, 14. June 2014

As you know I like a funny story and this one made me smile. A young lad of just 17 years his age had a rather sporty looking Corsa which he had fitted with a Carrot telematics box, as required by his insurance company, in order to bring down the cost of insurance. The black box measures his driving style, speed, acceleration and smoothness and adjusts his insurance cost accordingly.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

Unfortunately the young lad was devastated to find that his pride and joy had been stolen from outside his place of work in Oldham. However, the black box is also fitted with GPS which pinpointed the location of the car which the police managed to locate a couple of hours later and to the driver’s delight the car was in perfect condition other than a broken window.

However, his concern next turned to his black box, knowing that the car was probably stolen by joyriders and could have seriously damaged his driving score, escalating his insurance through the roof. Having contacted Carrot they found that during the two and a bit hours during which the car had been stolen the thief scored a perfect 10, the first time since this young driver had taken out his insurance.

The even better news was that Carrot allowed him to keep the score which will contribute to his overall score for the year. Brilliant news but I have news for you mate – it was probably your dad who nicked the car! It also suggests that if you are a young driver with one of these black boxes fitted, let your mum or dad drive your car occasionally, it could dramatically improve your score and reduce your insurance costs. By Graham Hill

FCA Approaching Debt Problems In The Wrong Way

Monday, 9. June 2014

I know I keep whinging on about the FCA and their new rules but I am genuinely worried about the affect it is having on the ability of lenders and intermediaries to do business and for genuine borrowers to be able to take out finance. As a result I’ve become pre-occupied with the subject of affordability and how lenders can analyse the application from a client to assess whether the customer should receive the finance or not.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

The problem that lenders have faced for years is – will the applicant make his repayments? The only way they have been able to assess this is by combining historical data with statistics to arrive at a pretty Heath Robinson credit score.

From the information obtained from the credit reference agencies combined with the lenders own score card requirements a further analysis takes place using statistics to arrive at an acceptance, decline or an acceptance subject to certain conditions or additional information.

For example if you are married with children in a house that you ‘own’ you are less of a risk and more likely to pay than a single person with no dependents living in rented accommodation. The fact that you own your house and have made your mortgage payments on time contributes towards your credit score but the fact that you are married with dependents is part of the lender’s score card. Now here is the confusion created by simply looking at your credit score.

Your credit reference agency score could be excellent because you have a credit card with a £2,000 limit on it that is paid on the button each month with a small balance on the card that every 3 months is fully paid off. All other payments are made on time including your mortgage which shows you own your property and you have no adverse whatsoever on the file.

But just because you have an excellent credit score doesn’t mean that you can afford to take out a finance agreement that will cost you £500 per month. You may show that historically you have met all your commitments and therefore represent a good credit risk but where is affordability in all this?

The lender’s own score card may show that having responsibilities, like a mortgage and children, living in a certain area in a certain job may statistically make you a good risk, there is nothing to prove it and I believe that it is this shortfall that has caused the Government via the FCA to force the lenders to test the ability to pay rather than the intention to pay.

But my question is this – if, through some twist of fate or luck the system worked – why try to fix it to the detriment of all concerned? We know that short term or pay day lending is a totally different type of product and given the distress that the collection and ability to rollover the debt, thereby substantially increasing the amount owed, causes consumers, it makes sense that lenders apply a more stringent set of affordability tests.

But that doesn’t apply to normal lending where the lenders have many years of experience under their belt and know who represents a good risk and who represents a bad risk. It’s a little like Ford identifying a problem with Focuses manufactured between 2010 and 2012 but recalling all Focuses ever made just to be on the safe side. It’s ridiculous.

In my simple opinion the ‘problem’ is being approached from the wrong end as I believe that generally most people have the intention to pay and have already personally checked the affordability of the finance out of their income. If someone dies in a car accident the Government doesn’t stop everyone from driving.

Lessons need to be learned, addressed and repaired to prevent it from happening again. The same applies to lending. But it already does. The lenders would soon go out of business if the number of defaults and arrears kept increasing so they are obviously refining their credit underwriting but even the lenders don’t have access to a crystal ball to see into the future.

The Government needs to spend money on helping those with debt problems, assist them in managing the debt and help them to recover with least pain to them and their family. When it takes two and a half years for the Financial Ombudsman to review a complaint it is clearly here that effort and money needs to be funnelled not into affordability checks that the lenders do quite adequately.

I ask the question again, what happens to those that wish to borrow money for a car in order to get to work or get their kids to school when the lender, after applying the new tests says no? The whole FCA concept has been ill conceived and badly thought through and for once it has nothing to do with the EU. By Graham Hill

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