Until recently, the consumer protection agencies which monitor and enforce the financial services laws had been silent on the issue of the commercial lending practices in relation to the commercial mortgages.
Now, they have come out with a Critical Look at its Effects on Consumer Trust Levels.
According to the report, the recent impact of the consumer debt crisis has left many people feeling that the system is broken. They see it as a menace on the public’s welfare.
When asked, the consumers believed that their inability to acquire loans or credit cards because of the recent situation has nothing to do with their credit worthiness.
In other words, they said that they should be able to get credit cards, loans and so on.
Rather, the problem was the late payments and non-payment of bills. But that, they felt, was due to the reduction in the credit rating.
In view of the poor credit ratings of many customers, many credit card issuers have set up the response systems and used the media to defend themselves. So, what were the agencies to do?
The agencies, it seems, needed to initiate an assessment of the credibility of the credit card issuers.
This is important, because the agencies are mandated to protect the interests of consumers. They have the same obligations as the lenders.
Thus, the agencies should begin with the assumption that the credit rating of the customer is not established on his performance.
It is not based on the failure to pay up. On the contrary, it is founded on the inherent capacity to pay.
If you check the current situation, the credit rating of most of the customers remains intact. The only factor that has weakened the status of the ratings is the extent of defaults.
Hence, the agencies must make sure that no new laws for better credit scores are passed.
The agencies need to seek only the policies and reforms which improve the existing structure.
The agents also need to start advising their clients about the different solutions that are aimed at improving the credit score.
They need to include all the options, rather than excluding them from the discussion.
After all, the credit score is not based on the performance of the bank manager alone. There are rules, regulations and policies that have to be adhered to.
The agencies can take steps to inform their clients about the more effective methods of reducing the probability of being cheated by dishonest banks.
They can work together with the bank managers to create the right atmosphere in the financial sector.
At the end of the day, the agencies need to keep in mind that they cannot stop new laws from coming into force. But, they need to develop their strategies so that the protection of their customers remains their first priority.