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Banks seize homes over credit card debt

LONDON, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Banks and credit card companies in England are exploiting a legal loophole to seize homes of customers who cannot pay their credit card bills, experts say.

People owing as little as $1,500 on such things as credit cards, car payments and personal loans have been served with charging orders, which enable a creditor to order the sale of a property, The Sunday Times of London reported.

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The newspaper said the controversial process emerged after Yvette Cooper, chief secretary to the Treasury, called on banks to do more to allow people to keep their homes.

More than 97,000 changing orders were granted by courts in England and Wales last year. The newspaper said the figure marks a 10-fold increase since 2000.

"The power of a charging order can come as a horrible shock to someone. When they took out the loan or the credit card, they were almost certainly not told that their home was at risk if they failed to keep up with repayments," said Mark Sands, head of insolvency at the accounting firm KPMG.

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