Proportion of home loans arranged to last until retirement increased to 42% in Q4 2023
Exclusive data from Eligible reveals that 1-in-10 mortgage customers don’t understand the terms of their product


  • 32% of Brits haven’t checked their credit score in five years
  • 11% of Brits have encountered permanent implications to their borrowing and spending activities
  • 60% of Brits have not heard of the term ‘forbearance’
  • 9% of Brits disregard bank letters and statements as they do not understand the financial language banks use

Zahra Hassan, co-founder of Eligible, calls on banks to proactively support customers at risk of falling into cycles of mortgage debt  
A freedom of information (FoI) request from former pensions minister, Steve Webb, has revealed a significant increase in the proportion of home loans arranged to last into retirement, with the figure jumping from 31% in Q4 2021 to 42% in Q4 2024. The growth of ultra-long mortgage deals stems from unprecedented rises in both house prices and fixed-term mortgage products over the past two years, with the average house price in the UK sitting at £282,000. As the number of Brits “gambling” with their retirement prospects is set to increase, exclusive data from Eligible – the nation’s first AI platform used by lenders to provide tailored support to customers – reveals that a shocking 1-in-10 mortgage customers don’t understand the terms of their product.

According to Zahra Hassan, co-founder of Eligible, the rising costs associated with the pursuit of home-ownership ought to encourage Brits to engage regularly with suitable product offerings and their own financial situation. Despite this, Eligible’s own data finds that almost 1-in-3 banking customers haven’t checked their credit score once in the past five years. All the while, 11% of Brits have encountered permanent implications to their borrowing and spending activities due to a lack of awareness of their own financial situation.

Eligible assert that the onus of the UK’s wider financial literacy problem falls on the nation’s leading lenders, with a 2017 YouGov survey finding that 60% of the British public confused by the language used by banks. Reliance on financial jargon and opaque terminology can have a tendency to obfuscate potential solutions to mortgage trouble, such as forbearance – a term that 40% of Brits have never heard of. Aiding the provision of good outcomes, Eligible highlight that developments in technology– such as their own machine learning programmes – can be utilised by financial institutions to identify at-risk customers and generate personalised support adapted to their unique situation.
Zahra Hassan, co-founder of Eligible, comments:

“The fundamental problem is that mortgages are a financial product that customers take out only once every 3-5 years. This means that they aren’t regularly engaging with their mortgage and aren’t in the loop of what all their options are.

“In a broader sense, rising interest rates, coupled with increased energy and living costs, heighten vulnerability to default. However, the key factor that pushes someone from financial strain to actual default is their lack of awareness about the array of options that their bank could have offered to temporarily ease their financial burden, particularly on their largest financial obligation – their mortgage.

“What’s needed – and what we’re doing at Eligible – is an active two-way dialogue, and AI-powered systems like Eligible facilitate this by initiating interactions with customers and monitoring their responses to gather insights. For instance, we proactively send educational content to customers to assess their anxiety levels and their understanding of their current financial products. Based on this information, we can fine-tune our approach by crafting more personalised educational content and adjusting our tone to be softer, supportive, and empathetic. This way, borrowers can better appreciate that lenders are here to assist them.”

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