Northern Ireland mortgage arrears

  • 2015

It can be difficult to increase consumers’ engagement with their mortgage providers when they have fallen into arrears.


We used several behavioural insights to try to boost consumers’ engagement with their mortgage provider. These included:

  • Simplification. When we make information more easy to understand, people are more likely to act on it. We simplified existing communications from lenders using direct calls to action.
  • Social norms. This term refers to our tendency to behave the way we think most other people do. Telling people that other consumers get in touch with their lenders could boost engagement.
  • Reciprocity. This term refers to the tendency of people to help people who have helped them. Expressing a sincere willingness to help customers could encourage them to engage with their mortgage provider. 
  • Loss aversion. People dislike losses more than they like gains of an equivalent amount. Emphasising losses that might result from not getting in touch with mortgage lenders could encourage communication from consumers. 

We developed bespoke communications to replace or supplement existing communications from lenders

Result & Impact

There was a statistically significant increase in the proportion of households that made contact with their lender.