Computer Glitch Keeps Insolvency Data from Lenders
An IT failure has been cited as one of the reasons banks are taking longer to approve or reject applications for mortgages and personal loans.
The problematic computer system in question is housed at the Insolvency Service, which is an agency of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. It failed in early October during an upgrade and has yet to be fully restored.
The computer problem could have led to long delays in approvals for thousands of mortgage applications and applications for unsecured personal loans with high street lenders such as the “big four” banks.
Normally, the Insolvency Service offers the general public a free online facility for checking whether individuals have been declared bankrupt, and a more in-depth paid-for service – also online – for credit reference agencies and banks. As well as notification of insolvencies, it also lists people with debt relief orders (DROs) and individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs).
However, with the failure of the computer system, the service has been reduced to sending paying clients regular bulk emails with the latest news of bankruptcy court rulings – a solution that the service has admitted is “cumbersome”.
A British Bankers’ Association spokeswoman commented: “It worries us because our members are supposed to do credit checks on people before they lend them money and at the moment they can’t easily do those checks.”
The reports emerged just before the Bank of England reported a sharp drop in the volume of consumer debt written off by UK banks in the third quarter of 2010. There was a 17 per cent drop in the number of people defaulting on overdrafts and unsecured personal loans during this period, it said.