Consumer recession fears still strong, survey of brokers shows

Some 56% of Irish Insurance brokers believe that the recession is over but 94% report that it is difficult for businesses to get finance from banks and 87% report that the general public do not have enough confidence to spend money, according to a survey published today.

The research, by Friends First, in association with Millward Brown Lansdown, was carried out across a sample of 100 independent brokers nationwide.

According to the Friends First Broker Barometer, the recession is clearly impacting on pension and saving patterns, with brokers reporting that half their clients are reducing their contributions to pension/investment products.

Some 94% of respondents reported the loss of a job or income being the direct cause of this.

The survey cited job security as the key concern among consumers with 60% of customers very concerned about job losses.

The value of their home is also a rising concern for customers with 46% of respondents citing it as a major concern compared with 39% in 2009.

Long term mortgage debt is a bigger problem for clients – 65%, compared to short term credit card debt – 35%.

Brokers currently report that 17% of customers are experiencing difficulties with their mortgage repayments.

According to the barometer 55% of people blame reckless lending by banks as the main reason for over indebtedness in Ireland today.

However, over half of respondents stated that they believed some ownership of personal debt must be taken by individuals themselves.

Two thirds of brokers now expect their business to improve over the next 12 months compared to just under half a year ago.

"While there are some signs that a recovery is underway, it is clear that consumers are finding it very difficult to save for their futures," said Eamonn Twomey of Friends First.

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