Record Debts Being Written Off
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Sep 29, 2009.
The financial crisis in which we have been living for some time now has changed the realities which we had accepted for some time, and many of those realities have changed for the worse. But for borrowers on credit cards who had been panicking about the pursuit from the issuers, there is one statistic which has improved. The issuers of credit cards are charging off a record amount of debt – meaning that they have accepted that people are not able to make their payments, and chasing them for those payments will not change the reality that they simply cannot afford to pay. It should be noted that this is not the case for every customer – if you can afford to pay but don’t want to, then the status quo will remain.
The simple truth of the matter is that with the unemployment rates having increased due to the global financial crisis, there are more and more people who simply cannot meet their credit card payments. Traditionally, this has led to a troublesome situation where the banks pursue people to make any kind of payment at all, promising in many cases that if you can make “just a small payment” your account will be held for a while and that pursuit will be ended. For many customers, this pleasant notion has been miles away from the reality, which has been that a small payment alerts the company to the fact that you are responding to pressure, and the pressure just gets ramped up that little bit more.
When a company finally accepts that there is nothing they can take from you, they charge the debt off. What this means in practice is that they lay off collections activity and write the amount off, taking a hit on their profits which needs to be covered by the amount of money each bank sets aside for such reasons. It does mean that annual bonuses for the bank workers will be a little bit lower, but you will find fewer and fewer people complaining about that eventuality. As much as the everyday workers at a bank are relatively blameless for the profligacy of the bank’s lending policy, we are all having to cut out coats according to our cloth these days.
The fact remains that people who knowingly borrow and spend recklessly will have to be pursued to make their payments. Now is not a good time to take out a credit card and run up a mountain of debt which you have no intention of meeting. Quite apart from anything else, banks are still hugely reluctant to lend large amounts of money unless they are sure, on the basis of their own research, that they will see a good return on that investment. If you have a good credit rating, they may well still lend to you – but would you want to risk a good rating now of all times? If, however, you are looking for a fresh start, now could be the best time to get that start.