One in five borrowers expect arrears in 2008, says FSA

A survey from the Financial Services Authority has revealed one in five borrowers fear they will not be able to make their mortgage payments over the next year.

And one in four of all respondents say they have no plan for how to meet the costs in the coming months.

The survey was conducted with a sample of 2011 adults aged 16-plus who interviewed across the UK between February 15 and 19 2008, of which 573 were mortgage holders.

In response the FSA is launching a £2m advertising campaign to inform consumers about the financial options available to them including the right mortgage for their situation.

It is especially focusing on people whose fixed rate or discount deals are coming to an end this year as 1.4 million short-term fixed rate mortgages are due to end in 2008.

Chris Pond, director of financial capability at the FSA, says: “Economic conditions are getting tougher, putting pressure on family finances. As the UK’s financial watchdog we can help. Our new checklist sets out simple steps that homeowners can take to manage their money and mortgage in difficult times.

“And for those who are really struggling, don’t panic. Talk to your lender or get free, confidential debt advice.”

The FSA has published a ‘Stay in control of your mortgage’ checklist on its consumer website Moneymadeclear to help people manage their mortgages during difficult financial times.

The site suggests consumers check their budgets and start making plans for dealing with increased mortgage payments.

Moneymadeclear also encourages borrowers to get help if they are struggling by calling lenders or a free independent debt service.

The website information is part of the FSA’s £90m National Strategy for Financial Capability, which links government, financial services industry, voluntary sector and consumer and education groups in an aim to reach at least 10 million people in five years from 2006.

It was revealed yesterday that the FSA will be spearheading a £12m free debt service initiative prescribed by the recently completed Thoresen Review of Generic Financial Advice in collaboration with the financial services industry and the Citizens Advice Bureau.