Rising prices and higher interest rates are already being felt in the pockets of Portuguese families - and not even the increase in the minimum wage has been enough to contain the effects of inflation. Furthermore, many desperate families have turned to DECO for help in managing their household budgets.
"During this period, DECO increased by 56 percent the number of appointments they provide in regard to discussing repayment plans with banks”, they said.
Last year DECO's Financial Protection Office (GPF) received 30,000 requests for financial advice from Portuguese families. In the previous year (2020) 30,100 applications had been sent and 29,154 in 2019.
According to DECO, 52 percent of the requests received in 2021 were related to the discussion of monthly payments. “Consumers wanted to know how they could discuss their monthly repayments plan in order to try to rebalance their family budget”, DECO said.
As part of the development of its work, DECO has approached banks to promote a discussion on monthly repayments by working with families to manage and optimise their family budget to enable them to meet their financial obligations.
In this regard, unemployment is the one of the main causes that has led people without enough money to continue paying their loans, with 29 percent of people pointing to this reason in DECO's 2021 office. However, in the first quarter of this year 2022, many people also highlighted loss of income as a cause in the origin of their financial need.
Families have on average five loans
According to DECO, families seeking help from DECO have an average of five loans, which means five monthly repayments to be met every month.
As a result, these families are faced with higher than recommended effort rates. "The average income of families who have applied for assistance is €1,100, but they have an average of €860 to pay in monthly repayments.
With this data, DECO calculated the effort rate of the families who contacted them in 2021, was 78 percent - a very high figure, considering that it should not exceed 35 percent.
Families struggling to repay their loans
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