Swedes’ unpaid debts continue to pile up

Swedes’ cumulative unpaid debts reached a new record of 62.2 billion kronor ($7.9 billion) in June, with Swedes at the higher end of the earnings scale finding it increasingly hard to pay their bills.

In the past year, the level of unpaid debt registered with Sweden’s Enforcement Agency (Kronofogden), which assists creditors and merchants in the collection of unpaid debts, has risen by 10 percent, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

At the end of June, there were 361,000 individuals in Kronofogden’s register, an increase of 2.6 percent since last year.

“Certainly a number of groups have taken on more credit when the economy was strong,” Jonas Åkerman, deputy CEO of the Soliditet business information company which carried out the study, told the newspaper.

“The financial crisis has led to bankruptcies and layoffs. More people are finding it hard to pay their debts.”

Two groups which have seen their presence on Kronofogden’s register balloon considerably are women, and those earning more than 400,000 kronor ($50,000) per year.

In the last year, the number of women with difficulties paying their debts has increased by 40 percent more than the corresponding figure for men, the study showed.

Similarly, the number of people earning just above Sweden’s average monthly white-collar private sector wage of 32,000 kronor has increased by 27 percent.

“This group normally has the ability to pay but is now going through a change in their income. If you go from a monthly salary of 40,000 kronor to unemployment insurance payments, it can often be difficult to keep up with paying things like a mortgage and consumer debt,” Åkerman told DN.

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Student loans agency warns of non-payment

Close to 90,000 Swedes with student loans are endangering their future credit score by late or outstanding payments, prompting the student loans body CSN (Centrala studiestödsnämnden) to place warning calls to those risking a record of non-payment.

Student loans agency warns of non-payment

New figures revealed how many Swedes have defaulted on their loans and seen their cases forwarded to the Swedish Enforcement Agency (Kronofogden).

The average debt of people not managing to make their repayments is 11,000 kronor per person, with the majority of those affected being young adults who have studied at a tertiary level.

“Young people in particular find it hard to understand the consequences of ending up in the hands of Kronofogden. Some people choose not to do anything about it,” said Boel Magnusson, spokeswoman at CSN, to the TT news agency.

An equal mix of men and women are in the red, with only 13 percent having studied at a university level. The majority attended municipal adult education programmes (Komvux).

Now, CSN and Kronofogden are co-operating to reduce the number of people risking a record of non-payment, which affect their future credit rating.

In the worst case, they risk foreclosure.

“We know that the most people want to do what’s right, but that something has come up – that they’ve become unemployed for example,” Magnusson told TT.

“Many have the right to reduced repayments due to low income, and they don’t know it.”

TT/The Local/og

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