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Debt forum threatens legal action on IVA charges

The Debt Resolution Forum (DRF), which exists to represent advisors and companies within the debt management industry, has accused High Street lenders of preventing thousands of families struggling with their finances from accessing debt settlements.

The Forum, which represents 28 firms, including ClearDebt and Accuma, believes that lenders are imposing artificial barriers on those who could use Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) as a way of avoiding bankruptcy.

As a result, it is considering a legal challenge to recent changes in the fees imposed by the Insolvency Exchange, which represents leading lenders such as HBOS.

DRF claims that the new charging structure could make many IVAs unviable and drive debt advisors out of business.

Should this happen, a sharp increase in the number of bankruptcies is likely to result.

The Insolvency Service, which is part of the Department for Business and Enterprise, has already publicly stated that many creditors are refusing to make use of IVAs, if the fee is above a certain level.

Meanwhile, the banks are taking the view that IVA providers are selling IVAs as a means by which debtors can get out of their obligations.

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