64% ‘think banks and others should do more to help customers through crisis’

Nearly two-thirds of people believe banks and other financial providers should be doing more to help their customers during difficult economic times, according to a survey.

Some 64% of people surveyed said banks and other financial providers are not doing enough to help their customers.

Banks were seen by more than half (57%) of people as having a duty to help people during stormy financial conditions, second only to the Government (64%), according to the survey of 2,000 people across the UK.

Many financial providers have put a range of measures in place to help people navigate the cost-of-living crisis, including putting sources of help on their websites and setting up helplines, as well as offers of budget planning tools, calculators and support with debts.

People can also get free, impartial help and information from the Government-backed MoneyHelper website.

The “banking on banks” report, published by consumer and business credit information provider CRIF (Centrale Rischi Finanziari), also found that 35% of people in the UK said they would be prepared to share more of their data if it improved their ability to borrow or access higher credit limits.

Nearly half (46%) would be willing to share more information if it meant banks could warn them in advance of potential financial issues.

Nearly a fifth (19%) of those surveyed said they expect to borrow more from their bank this year to handle rising living costs.

Just over a third (36%) of those surveyed in the UK said they had previously dropped out of the application process for a new financial product, citing the process being too complicated or the digital application not being user-friendly.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of those who had been turned down for credit said they had received no information on how to improve their creditworthiness.

Sara Costantini, CRIF’s regional director for the UK & Ireland, said: “Millions of people across the UK are already contending with the increasing cost-of-living, with one in five now expecting to borrow more over the next year.

“Despite this, the majority of people in the UK feel lenders aren’t doing enough to help and want to see them offer more tailored products and services that meet their specific needs, as well as ways to lower their bills and to proactively flag any financial issues on the horizon.”

She added: “The whole financial sector needs to work together to improve customer understanding and capitalise on the benefits improved data and analytics can bring.”

Banks and other financial providers have duties to lend responsibly under lending rules.

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “Lenders in the UK are ready to help customers who might be struggling with their finances, having trained specialists to provide tailored support to suit their individual circumstances – and are working closely with their regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority to ensure that the best support possible can be provided.

“Many lenders also have tools and resources available online to help people manage their money, which some are advertising nationally to raise awareness.

“We encourage customers who might be struggling to contact their lender as soon as possible to discuss the options available to help with the rising cost-of-living.”