Registry Trust CEO Lex Jones writes about Covid-19 economic recovery and CCJ data in this month's Consumer Credit Trade Association (CCTA) Magazine:
Building Blocks: Covid-19 economic recovery and CCJ data
Registry Trust maintains the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines for the UK and Ireland. We hold historical and ‘live’ data on monetary County Court Judgments (CCJs), which provides a picture of indebtedness and creditworthiness at a national and regional level and can be used to inform responsible lending and borrowing, policy making, and business decisions.
Since the onset of the pandemic, we have been analysing and sharing this data in different ways to try and help shape the economic recovery strategy. In October 2020, we hosted a roundtable discussion with key stakeholders including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Fair by Design, Equifax, Experian, Financial Inclusion Commission, Lending Standards Board, Finance and Leasing Association, UK Finance, Cabinet Office, Money and Pensions Service, University of Lancaster, the Consumer Council of Northern Ireland, and others, to discuss how we could build back an inclusive economy from both a macro and micro economic, and household perspective. This looked at the impact of increasing inequality as a result of Covid-19 and the vital role of access to affordable credit as a key driver in inclusive growth. We know from our role maintaining the Registers of Judgments, Orders, and Fines, how an unsatisfied CCJ or other blip on a credit record can lead to increased financial vulnerability as a result of inability to access credit and we strongly believe that educating and supporting people to not let the situation escalate is vital.
We have also been campaigning for changes to the CCJ process that will make it fairer for consumers and businesses by holding claimants to account and ensuring that having a CCJ ‘satisfied’ is not overlooked. This is all part of building consumer and business financial resilience which will not only help to boost economic recovery, but also ensure that they are not as vulnerable to future crises.
Through our regular data analysis blogs, we’ve been able to identify trends and ‘hotspots’ by mapping judgment levels and value against other data and policy changes, from availability of debt advice and child health deprivation, to Universal Credit and Brexit. Most recently, we’ve been looking at the likely impact of the implementation of the Debt Respite (Breathing Space) Scheme and at the rise of ‘buy now, pay later’ product use. All of this is helping to bring CCJ data to life by demonstrating how it can be an indicator of emerging issues.
When it comes to Covid-19, we can also use our data to learn from past mistakes. This recession is likely to be like no other we have previously experienced, but there are trends that we are already seeing which mimic what has gone before, and these can be used as a warning sign for what not to do when it comes to lending, borrowing, and economic policy. We also have a new opportunity to educate a new demographic of people who have never been in debt before to seek help and resolve issues as early as possible. Our public facing website TrustOnline allows anyone to search either themselves or someone else on the Register and being armed with this information is key for financial ‘fitness’ and capability.
As we often say about our data, the more information we have the better. How we use that information is up to us all and we are keen to work as collaboratively as possible with stakeholders from across the whole credit and debt landscape.