My pick of the week is I Worked at Capital One for Five Years. This Is How We Justified Piling Debt on Poor Customers – American but relevant to all high cost lending in Britain.
And a shout out to Torsten Bell for “You think your meetings are boring? The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has met 107 times since 2010, and on only three occasions has it actually done anything to interest rates. “ in The Economic History Of The 2010s.
Tweet of the week
— Shelter (@Shelter) December 25, 2019
Debt Advice – 2019 did not go well – what will happen in 2020? – my review of the year. Let’s all work to make sure I am being too pessimistic…
Martin Lewis slams new student loan system as ‘misleading and financially dangerous’ Mirror: His principal issue is with the focus on a fast-rising “debt” figure that has seen people overpay in an attempt to get it under control.
Brighthouse sinks further into red amid more complaints over lending Times (paywall) Brighthouse said “We are in the process of disputing recent cases where the Financial Ombudsman Service has given initial adjudicator views against us in terms of our historical product prices and our affordability assessments”.
UK debt trends:
- 353,000 buy first home as numbers hit 12-year high Metro: there is some way to go before numbers reach 2006 levels, when there were 400,870 first-time buyers.
- UK credit card debts fall for first time since 2013 Guardian: Borrowers repay £100m in November, reflecting falling demand for consumer lending.
How to conquer debt in 2020: Five key steps to take yourself out of the red in the new decade and wrangle control of your finances Mail: This is Money and finance experts give their tips on how to get out of the red.
Bosses out after auditor RSM bungles own accounts Times (paywall): RSM quietly removed its chief executive, finance director and chief operating officer from their roles just before Christmas after what is understood to have been an internal accounting blunder.
I Worked at Capital One for Five Years. This Is How We Justified Piling Debt on Poor Customers. New Republic: Annie is, in short, a very nice person. She works hard at being good, to be friendly and kind to everyone she meets. She also, for a time, made a living selling credit cards with high interest rates to people who were barely making ends meet.
Row over small print threatens bank fraud compensation payouts Times (paywall): there was “no industry consensus” on how to refund victims; ideas such as a 2.9p transaction fee on online payments and the setting up of an industry-wide fraud insurance policy have all been rejected.
Benefits & other news
Why the ‘Boris bounce’ is likely to be shortlived FT (paywall): Post-Brexit trade links with the EU and productivity remain big problems.
The Legacy of Destructive Austerity NY Times: The deficit obsession of 2010-2015 did permanent damage.
2019: Review of council tax support schemes Policy in Practice blog: councils are examining the impact of their current scheme on local residents and increasingly modelling options that work alongside Universal Credit.
The Economic History Of The 2010s Resolution Foundation: the danger is we treat things as normal that are anything but. So this five chart history hopefully reminds us quite how exceptional the 2010s were.
- Raising the national living wage is right but it won’t stop poverty Claire Ainsley, JRF: The risk is this becomes a one-off piece of good news rather than going hand-in-hand with measures to boost household incomes overall.
- National Living Wage – Cui Bono? Gareth Morgan: The result may be that the £930 a year, trumpeted by the government, may be nowhere near the £18 a week implied but more like £2 or £3 a week.
Half of apprenticeship courses in England are ‘fake’ and ‘don’t help young people get jobs’ Sun: The think tank recommends that apprenticeships need to be more carefully defined to stop firms using the money to fund existing training programmes.
The Scottish schools tackling waste and poverty BBC: “All too often we consider items, such as surplus food or unwanted clothes, as waste when actually they can be passed on or reused for someone else to enjoy”