Banks welcome IVA investigation

12 April 2007
Bankers' group the British Bankers' Association (BBA) has welcomed an investigation from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) into whether advertisements for Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) could be misleading customers.

Earlier this month, it emerged the ASA would pursue enquiries into the radio and television advertising run by W3 Debt Solutions, Money Debt and Credit and Accuma Group, after Debt Free Direct drew attention to possible exaggerated claims made by its three competitors.

In the advertisements, the insolvency firms claim to be able to write off 'up to 75 per cent' of consumer debt, which Debt Free Direct insists could mislead customers.

The marketing material in question also allegedly fails to make clear that customers will be forced to pay fees in return for obtaining an IVA to 'clear' their debt.

Ensuring that IVAs are "promoted responsibly" is a commendable move, Angela Knight, BBA chief executive, emphasises.

The banking industry is ready to engage productively with regulatory authorities, she stressed, promising to flesh out the details of a joint initiative between the BBA and the Insolvency Service aiming to tackle IVA issues in the near future.

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