National Consumer Council chairwoman Deirdre Hutton has hit out at what she says are irresponsible lenders fuelling the nation's household debt.
Speaking at the British Bankers Association annual conference in London last week, Hutton said she wants to see lenders do more to prevent borrowers getting into difficulties.
The NCC has previously spoken out on equity release and retirement income but Hutton attacked banks, building societies and credit card companies for loaning money to people who are not in a position to pay it back.
The NCC says it is asking lenders to put their house in order ahead of legislation by providing a better assessment of the financial situation of borrowers based on a consumer's ability to repay.
Hutton wants to see lenders base their decisions on income and credit commitments rather than just on payment history.
The NCC wants a standard method of calculating interest to make it easier for consumers to compare financial products.
The MarketPlace technical mortgage manager David Bitner says: “There are far more stringent checks in place in the mortgage market. In terms of purchasing a property, you can only get higher income multiples if you have a bigger deposit and this kind of loan is based on an asset. Credit cards are at completely the other end of the scale.”