Sherbet News and Views
Sherbet Launches Application Form for Grants - September 2009
After several months in the planning, and following the completion of training for enforcement officers, The Sherbet Foundation takes its first steps towards awarding grants in its innovative approach to financial hardship.
The charity's new application forms for financial assistance, which have been designed to be simple and quick to complete, will be handed out by trained enforcement officers from Shergroup. The forms will allow people in financial difficulty who have been visited in the home, to apply for an essential household item such a fridge, cooker, or washing machine.
The application forms will be completed and returned to Sherbet's grant processing team who will assess the applicant in line with the charity's criteria. If successful the applicant will receive the new household item direct from Comet who will install the appliance and take care of the removal and disposal of any old appliance.
Claire Sandbrook, a Sherbet trustee and founder of the concept for the charity, is delighted by progress and says, "We wanted to make it easy for officers to identify families who needed help, and for people to fill in a simple application form. The form which has been designed achieves both these aims. The form is not too scary or full of officialdom. It just does what it says on the tin."
The new form and the grant making process are now being rolled out by Shergroup's enforcement officers and the charity hopes to attract donations and support from the credit industry through its various networks.
For information on how you can support the work of Sherbet please contact the charity by email using the online enquiry function on this website or you can contact Claire Sandbrook direct on 0845 890 9200.
Enforcement Officers Complete Training - July 2009
Enforcement Officers have now completed their initial training on how to select a person or family for a Sherbet grant.
Making hundreds of visits a year, Enforcement Officers connected to the Sherbet charity will offer to complete application forms for families who are in hardship as a result of enforcement action.
From their grant form will be submitted to an independent grant assessment process. If a person fulfils the necessary criteria then an offer of help will be made.
Commenting on the scheme, Claire Sandbrook as one of the Trustees says, "We have worked with the team at Charis to create a fair and simple assessment scheme for the Sherbet scheme. We hope that as we are able to help more people this system will show some of the real cases of hardship that exist in Britain today, and how a simple offer of help from an unexpected source can make all the difference".
Sherbet Achieves Charity Registration - December 2008
Sherbet has been a concept for a number of months with Trustees being appointed at the beginning of the year. However in December the all important charity registration number came through on registration of The Sherbet Foundation.
This means that the Sherbet team can now put in place a number of fund raising and awareness raising initiatives to ensure the work of the charity is promoted and work can begin helping families who need that all important "Helping Hand".
Watch this space for more news as The Sherbet Foundation develops into offering real help to real people.
Is it time for a credit check-up?
Source : Credit Control Journal - Reporter : James Jones
This article outlines what is contained in a personal credit report, where the information is obtained from and how it is used by lenders.
It explains the importance of keeping your credit report in good order and how that can be achieved, how credit scoring works and gives advice on what to do if you disagree with any of the information in your report.
It also explains why credit repair companies are bad for your health and why they cannot do anything to improve your credit report that a credit reference agency can't do at no cost.
For many consumers, the checks and decision-making that take place when applying for credit are a mystery.
Myths and misconceptions abound and include common thoughts such as:
- Is there a blacklist and am I on it?
- Will the borrowing record of the people who used to live in my house be taken into account when I apply for credit?
- Will the fact that I had a credit application refused last year affect my credit rating today?
- Thankfully, the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding 'no' and credit checks are actually not as puzzling as some would have us believe.
Under the microscope
When someone applies for credit, the lender simply wants to find out whether they're a safe bet to repay what they want to borrow.
So they carry out checks to see how they repaid credit in the past, how much they owe at the moment and whether their general characteristics suggest they'll be a trouble-free and profitable customer.
They do this by consulting the information held by one of the UK's credit reference agencies, and by looking at the information the customer provides when they apply for credit, such as details of their job and wages, regular outgoings and residential and marital status.
Lenders usually assess this information using automated credit scoring.
Relevant pieces of information are given a score, for instance, ten points for a settled credit card account with a perfect payment history and minus ten points for a loan that has been defaulted on.
These scores are then added up and compared to the lender's predetermined pass mark.
If the individual scores enough, they will usually be offered credit. What confuses some consumers is the fact that no two lenders award points in the same way or set the same pass marks.
In fact, some have different scorecards for different products. An applicant may be refused by one bank and accepted by another based on exactly the same information.
Although lenders won't usually reveal exactly how their scoring systems work, if someone is refused credit they should at least tell them the main reason, including whether there was a problem with the information supplied by a credit reference agency.
A healthy record
The information the credit reference agencies hold about an individual shows their current and past borrowing record.
The agencies gather this information from public records and private records provided by the UK's main lenders, who routinely share information about customers' repayment histories to help them lend in a responsible way.
Lenders can only check a credit report with the applicant's permission and every search is logged and held for up to two years.
That way, lenders can easily spot abnormal activity, such as identity fraud, and the applicant can see who has checked their report whenever they ask to see a copy.
The agencies will provide an individual with a copy of their own report for around £2.
They may also offer online services, some of which will monitor the report for changes, which may cost a little more.
Consumers keeping finances in good shape
For many people, having a regular look at their credit report helps them to keep their finances in good shape. It can also help them to spot the early signs of identity fraud.
Lenders not only use the credit report information to decide whether to accept or refuse credit applications but also, increasingly, to determine what interest rates to set.
A good credit record can help them secure the best credit deals.
The majority of the information credit reference agencies hold is positive and shows that most people manage their credit commitments really well, but some get into difficulties from time to time.
Although the factual information on a credit report can't be changed simply because it is embarrassing, it's worthwhile suggesting that clients check their report to make sure the information held is accurate and up-to-date.
The credit reference agencies will mark any disputed information as unreliable while they liaise with the source to put it right.
Individuals can also add a note to explain past problems, such as late payments caused by a period of illness, by redundancy or relationship breakdown, as that can happen to anyone.
Future lenders will see the note and may take it into account.
Improving credit reports
There are a number of things that you can do to improve your chances of getting credit.
- Make sure you are on the electoral roll.
- Make payments on time. If you can't do this, you
should contact your lender as soon as possible to discuss
what options are available.
- If you have paid a court judgment, make sure it is
shown as being settled on their credit report. If it
is not, contact the court.
- If a bankruptcy order has ended or been withdrawn
and this is not shown on your credit report, you should
send a copy of your certificate of discharge or annulment
to all credit reference agencies and ask for your report
to be updated
- If you have paid off a credit account but your report
doesn't show this, you should contact the organisation
concerned and ask them to make the necessary changes.
- Close any accounts no longer in use.
- Avoid credit repair companies! If information on
a credit report can be removed or altered, the credit
reference agency will do it for free. The Office of
Fair Trading has issued a warning that the advice and
information given by credit repair companies may be
wrong and unhelpful and can even make the situation
worse, not better.