Many high-earning Britons are now being declined by mainstream lenders – often due to just minor blemishes on their credit files.
That’s the finding of specialist motor finance group The Funding Corporation which reports a sharp rise in the number of people who are “salary rich, but credit poor”.
The Chester-based group specialises in non-prime car finance for those with impaired credit records.
But this sector no longer comprises just low earners with poor repayment histories, according to the company’s Norman Beaumont:
“We have plenty of applicants from professional backgrounds who have been stunned to learn that a bank or finance house has refused them a loan,” he says.
“The cause might have been just a few missed payments on a credit card some years ago, but today that can be enough for some lenders to turn down their application.
“Being a high earner is no barrier to someone being classified as high risk,” said Norman who is sales and marketing director of ACF Car Finance, the group’s car sales division.
Professionals and senior managers with incomes well above the national average are among those now having to cast their net more widely for car loans, comments Norman.
In many cases, he says, the family’s main car is supplied via the business – so the person’s credit history isn’t revealed until they come to buy a second vehicle.
It’s then they receive the surprise news, sometimes from a prime dealership, that their application for car finance has been refused.
“Every day we are talking to people whose incomes, even after all outgoings have been deducted, could very easily accommodate a car loan,” said Norman.
“A few years ago, a few blemishes on their credit file might have been ignored – but now, many mainstream lenders are looking only for spotless borrowing records.
“The lenders with which ACF Car Finance works, including its parent The Funding Corporation, still apply strict lending criteria, but also look more closely at the reasons for any past difficulties.
“In many cases, these often don’t indicate a chronic repayment problem, but simply a blip which has since been remedied and is unlikely to reoccur,” added Norman.
ACF Car Finance operates a national network of car dealerships which supplies vehicles directly to customers who may have had difficulty in acquiring finance.
“It can come as a shock for someone who feels highly regarded in their professional life to find that their credit status is so low amongst lenders,” said Norman.
“But perhaps they can take some comfort from the fact that refusals are now very common – and that there are lenders out there which understand and can help,” he commented.