StepChange responds to FCA Financial Lives Survey

The new Financial Lives survey from the FCA has found that more than 7m people unsuccessfully attempted to contact one or more of their financial services providers in the 12 months before May 2022, while less than half of UK adults said they had confidence in the UK financial services industry in general.

The findings echo StepChange’s own research which has found that half of GB adults (53%) say that they would be reluctant to seek help with financial difficulty from a bank or credit firm.

With the FCA’s previous research finding number of people struggling to meet bills and credit repayments has risen by 3.1m since May 2022 to over 10m people, StepChange is urging firms to use the upcoming Consumer Duty as an opportunity to be more pro-active in getting better help to people in financial difficulty as quickly as possible.

Richard Lane, StepChange Director of External Affairs, said:

“The FCA’s survey reinforces why firms should see the forthcoming Consumer Duty as opportunity to improve how their customers are treated. While firms have stepped up to help millions of people navigate the cost of living crisis, we know that people showing signs of financial difficulty need help as early as possible to prevent them from becoming trapped in a spiral of harmful, unaffordable borrowing. So we urge firms to embrace the Consumer Duty and to develop appropriate support for their customers. They can do this by identifying financial difficulty at the earliest possible stage, ensuring support is tailored to individual needs, communicating in a way that encourages people to seek help, and by making effective referrals to free debt and money advice.”