School for debtors planned

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The Independent Online
HOMEOWNERS with Yorkshire Building Society loans who miss a mortgage payment may be invited to take part in a money management seminar.

The society is running a pilot scheme of four seminars - two in the Leeds/Bradford area and two in London. Around 30 or 40 borrowers will be invited to each day-long seminar. The first seminars will take place on Saturdays in August.

Ken Maynard, Yorkshire's lending operations manager, said: 'We will not be too impressed if they say they cannot come because they are going off to spend two weeks on a Greek beach.'

The seminars are being conducted by Credit Action, a Christian charity. It will only be given the first names of people attending the seminars and will have no personal details. Participants will be instructed on how to order their debts and how to draw up a budget.

Keith Tondeur of Credit Action said people faced with mounting debts often try to bury their heads in the sand. 'We help them to communicate with the lenders, and often we can help them claim social security benefits.'

The Yorkshire Building Society is paying the charity about pounds 50 a head for the seminars, and will plan more if the initial events are judged a success.

Mr Maynard said that several years ago the society was reluctant to accept anything less than full payments plus contributions towards any arrears. But now it had made arrangements with many borrowers for regular payments of less than the total monthly payments - sometimes as little as half the regular payments.

'We will not repossess people who are talking to us. We recognise that people are afraid to say that they have a problem.'

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