Heavy FCA Fines Make Life Difficult For Lenders

Tuesday, 17. June 2014

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.

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

The Fear Of Heavy Fines Is Causing Lenders To Be Over Cautious

Tuesday, 27. May 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.

logo of FCA

logo of FCA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

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Cheap Insurance If You ‘Drive Like A Girl’ Explains Graham Hill

Sunday, 9. March 2014

I don’t know if you have seen the advertising offering lower ‘drive like a girl’ car insurance but it hasn’t half caused a stir. You know that the EU told the insurance companies to equalise the cost of insurance between men and women, which they did, but argued that insurance was a risk assessed product.

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.

And statistically young men between 17 and 25 were a much greater insurance risk than girls of the same age. So why charge them both the same for insurance? The counter argument was that you could keep breaking down statistics saying that girls in the north of England were more likely to have an accident than those in the south or that girls born in January were least likely to have an accident so their insurance should be cheaper and so on.

In fact why not just charge everyone a flat figure of £350 per annum and be done with it. That might sound far fetched but fleets have operated that way for years. The insurer would be told that the company had 400 company cars and they charged a flat fee of a fixed sum for all the cars and drivers. If claims went up then the flat rate  insurance premium went up also. Not rocket science.

But now, in order to fly in the face of the EU, and insurance company called Drive Like A Girl is offering cheap insurance not just to girls but lads also between the ages of 17 and 25 – provided they ‘drive like a girl’. Cars are fitted with a black box which assesses your driving style and from this information the insurer can assess whether you should be paying more or less premium.

The company argues that black box stats show that young men are 60% more likely to drive at night than women, are 49% more likely to speed and trigger twice as many aggressive braking alerts. So if young men drive in the same way as women they will receive the same insurance costs.

The same rules apply to women, if they drive in the same way they will achieve maximum discount. They are treading a fine line in my opinion but their low rates are achieving a lot of business. By Graham Hill

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Financial Associations Causing Finance Applications To Be Declined

Friday, 14. February 2014

Most people are aware that in order to be approved for finance you need to have a reasonably good credit score. You maintain a good credit score, as you know, by making credit payments on time (pay by direct debit wherever possible), not gaining CCJ’s, defaulting or going into arrears and not applying for credit to too many companies at the same 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.

Closing down old credit cards can also help. But I have had a few ‘declines’ just recently because of financial associations that, in a few cases, were no longer in existance. When you apply for credit you can only have your personal details searched so if you have a partner who has very poor credit or could even be bankrupt, they cannot be checked out unless you give permission or you have a financial association.

If you are shown to have a financial association with anyone the chances are that their credit status will also be taken into account. So if you are applying for finance and you and your partner have a joint mortgage or a joint credit card there is a financial association. One client had a girlfriend and they jointly applied for a credit card and were approved at the time.

They didn’t take out the card and split up shortly afterwards but one of them ran into some severe financial difficulties. As the financial association was still showing on the credit reference agency file the unknowing boyfriend was declined for car finance because of the difficulties experienced by the ex girlfriend.

So check your credit reference files and if you are showing any financial associations with any ex’s make sure you write to the credit reference agencies (all 3) and tell them that you no longer have any financial association with your ex, and to remove the link. By Graham Hill

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Ageism, Drugs and Safe Drivers by Graham Hill

Friday, 7. February 2014

Bits & Pieces: Ageism still exists it would seem! Insurance companies can still turn you down for insurance based on your age and this happened to over 100,000 last year. However, to help the elderly keep mobile the Government introduced a scheme that meant that if an insurance company would not provide cover due to age they must refer the driver to an insurer who will and apparently it worked as they are all happily still driving. Stop complaining about old drivers – you’ll be there one day!

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.

For those who enjoy the occasional spliff then jump into their car and weave their way home in the belief that they won’t get ‘done’, think again as the Government has announced an investment of £120,000 for cannabis screening devices to be installed into police stations in an effort to tackle drug driving. It is estimated that drug driving is responsible for 200 deaths on the road each year – no laughing matter.

On the earlier subject of age there are now over a million drivers on UK roads aged over 80 and amazingly there are 195 aged over 100. The Institute of Advanced Motorists added that older drivers are actually safer with fewer, in terms of percentage, having points on their licences. By Graham Hill

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Payday Lending – The Wrong Approach

Saturday, 17. August 2013

Image representing Wonga as depicted in CrunchBase

Image by None via CrunchBase

Who is the worst payday lender? I’m not sure of the answer to that one myself but certainly the most honest seems to be Wonga. I have written a new book that will be launched soon in my Simple Guide series called APR – A Simple Guide.

Amongst many crooked activities revolving around the abuse of APR I talk about payday loans. I agree with a comment made in Credit Today when they suggest that instead of displaying a ‘representative APR’ in their adverts, payday lenders should display ‘lots’ and leave it at that for the usefulness it provides.

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 give an example in the book of a call made to a Payday lender who quoted a representative APR of, I believe 2,450%. However this is the rate if I borrowed money on the 1st of the month and repaid it on the 31st. After questioning a very nice chap on the phone before he hung up on me he gave me the amount of interest I would pay in cash terms if I had the loan for a complete month.

However, when I explained that it was less than a week to my payday, would they still charge the same fee that I would pay if I had the loan for a month, the answer was yes. When I explained that this reduction in time would seriously affect the APR the phone went dead. Everything about APR is a joke and is completely misused by those lending and misunderstood by those borrowing.

Recently Wonga, in an attempt to reflect more closely the borrowing of their customers, changed their worked example in their advertising by moving from £207 over 20 days (£47.20 in charges) to £150 over 18 days (£33.49 in charges). Nothing wrong with that you might think, if anything it is taking an honest approach to their lending, tell it as it is.

But unfortunately because of the ridiculous way that APR is calculated on short term loans it moved the APR from 4,214% to 5,853%. As a result the press had a field day, balloons went up, old people had sticks waved at them as they were identified as the old kindly people in the Wonga ad and brown, rather smelly stuff, was thrown at the office fan of many journalists as they fought to condemn Wonga.

The Daily Mail said, ‘Payday firm’s 1,600% rise leads to calls for tighter regulation.’ The Guardian also noted the rise with ‘Increase calls for a cap on the cost of short-term credit.’ In my book I’m calling for a massive change in the way that the world measures credit and this furore strengthens my resolve because APR is total nonsense.

Let me break this down for you without giving away my new approach to lending. Faced with a rise of 1,600% in the interest and charges that we would now be expected to pay, as illustrated by the Wonga example, you and I might throw a tantrum but what does it really mean?

What caused there to be hundreds of column inches to be written in the press about this massive rise in interest? If you take the first example from Wonga and break it down you will find that you will pay £207 over 20 days, or £1.14 per day per £100 in charges. In the second example you will pay £1.24 per day per £100 in charges. So this extra 1,600% amounts to ten pence per day per £100 that you borrow.

The massive reaction was over 10 pence per day per £100 borrowed. What a bloody nonsense – read my book when it comes out, you are in for some shocking revelations!

Oh and before you get the wrong impression I’m not a big fan of payday lending but if properly controlled with full disclosure there is a place for it for those struggling with their finances. Official statement over!

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How Youngsters Can Get Cheaper Insurance

Saturday, 7. April 2012

Citroën C1

Citroën C1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know I’m past having to worry about my kids having to insure their first car at 17 but I still feel the pain, and even more so today, when premiums of several thousands of pounds are asked for on cars costing a few hundreds. According to the AA the average policy for a 17-22 year old is £3,000. As a result I’ve had a trawl around to see what Read more

E Class Mercedes £319 + VAT 3+35, Last Few

Thursday, 8. March 2012

Good Morning,

Not quite got the newsletter and deal of the week completed but I didn’t want you to miss out on this amazing deal on cars that must be registered this month. Watch out for the newsletter this week which discusses Personal Contract Purchase, how to judge what is good value and how it compares with Personal Contract Hire. Read more

After Riots Insurance Cover Explained

Saturday, 3. September 2011

Result of a serious automobile accident.

Image via Wikipedia

Are you, or someone you know, one of the few that has lost a car in the recent riots to needless vandalism? If so where do you stand regarding your insurance and the 1886 Riot Act? First of all if you have a car that was set alight and destroyed, if you have fully comprehensive insurance you are covered, according to the Association of British Read more

Credit Underwriting In The UK Needs A Re-Think

Wednesday, 10. August 2011

The credit system in the UK is in need of a really good shake up. Credit decisions seem to be made based on some very iffy information and totally illogical. Take two people doing similar jobs, earning the same amount of money who both apply for credit on similar cars. The first client has a perfect, unblemished record. He has a mortgage and a couple of Read more