Following the Bank of England’s (BoE) decision not to raise interest rates last week, Finance Monthly has heard from a few sources who have provided expert commentary.
Richard Haymes, Head of Financial Difficulties at TDX Group:
The decision is good news for those living in debt or teetering on the edge of financial difficulty. We expect the level of monthly Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and Trust Deeds to grow by around 17% this year; a rise in interest rates would have a significant impact on the ability of these individuals to meet repayments and ultimately stay within the strict requirements of these debt solutions.
Figures from Creditfix, the largest provider of personal insolvencies in the UK show that 20.2% of its customer base holds a mortgage. It’s likely, due to their credit position, that most of these customers will have a variable mortgage that would have left them particularly vulnerable to an interest rate rise. A 0.25% hike would have left holders of £250,000 mortgages with a monthly repayment increase of £31*. This may appear a modest rise but for people trying to manage debts through IVAs or Debt Management Plans it could have a detrimental impact, rendering debt solutions unviable or in need of renegotiation.
While a continuation of the low interest environment is bad news for people holding pensions, investments and living on savings – reducing their earning potential compared to periods of ‘normal’ monetary policy, a static interest rate provides relief and stability for those in financial difficulty or on the brink of difficulties.