The Regional Money Helpline has launched as a telephone and web-based advisory service designed to help UK consumers get to grips with the nation’s alarming £1.3 trillion mountain of debt.
The South Yorkshire-based national consumer helpline launched Monday November 13 2006, with a national call centre and a new software system called the Personal Money Manager to assist debt-laden consumers across the UK in putting their finances in order.
TRMH initially expects call volumes in the region of 200,000 to 250,000 calls a year and launches with the capacity to handle up to 460,000 calls with plans to expand as needed.
The PMM can be accessed on a personal computer, over the internet, or in a hard-copy format.
It guides the user through a series of questions to produce a repayment plan that will enable them to communicate with their creditors and agree an affordable plan.
It automatically produces and prints letters and documents that clients can use to agree an arrangement with their creditors for the payment of their debts over a period of time.
The launch of TRMH will be supported by a multi-million pound marketing and consumer awareness campaign over the next 12 months.
This will initially concentrate on advertising and PR campaign in the national press, revealing some of the shocking debt statistics gathered by the TRMH research team during a three-and-a-half year development period.
TRMH also plans to deliver its message and services to a wider UK Audience by rolling out an extensive TV campaign on both terrestrial and satellite daytime TV from mid-January 2007.
Chris Walker, director of public relations and communication for TRMH, says: “Personal debt in the UK is rising by £1m every four minutes, and currently stands at a staggering total of £1.3 trillion.
“Millions of UK consumers find themselves either in serious financial difficulties, or on the borderline of falling behind with their regular payments.
“Despite this, far too many people are unsure where to turn to for sound advice, help, or financial education.
“There is a growing need for professional consumer debt support, and for the public and private sectors to work hand-in-hand to alleviate the growing pressure and misery of personal debt.”
TRMH provides a comprehensive, simple and confidential debt advisory service.
It operates nationally, but users will be supported on a regional basis. Initial advice and support is offered free of charge, although this may lead to paid-for debt restructuring services.
The business also believes that the PMM system will prove useful as an educational resource in schools and colleges.
Walker says: “The government has ambitious targets for educating borrowers and students to become more financially capable, and I am confident that the PMM System will prove a real asset in helping to achieve those targets.
“It will empower, educate and encourage people to take control of their finances, and not to bury their heads in the sand if they run into debt problems.
“It will help them to communicate clearly with the banks and lenders they have borrowed the money from.
“Our research showed us that people do not know how to approach their creditors – they think the people they have borrowed money from will not help them.
“This is not the case, and the correct course of action is to communicate with the lender directly.”