View more on these topics

Clydesdale and Yorkshire panels to only use CQS-accredited solicitors

desmond hudson
Desmond Hudson: customers’ interest first

Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks have become the latest lenders to restrict their conveyancing panels.

Last week the lenders announced that from April 16 they will only deal with solicitor firms accredited by The Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, which number roughly 1,300.

The Law Society has welcomed the move, which is in contrast to HSBC, which recently chopped its panel down to only 42 firms.

Desmond Hudson, chief executive of The Law Society, says it is up to lenders to make decisions about their panels.

But he adds: “Not only is it an assurance of high standards in conveyancing for lenders, but by showing its commitment to the CQS, they are putting customers’ interests first by maintaining a wide panel of trusted firms.”

HSBC announced in January that it would only work with 42 firms and its panel would be managed by Countrywide.

It offers customers incentives to use a firm from its panel, such as fixed legal fees and a guarantee that they will not be charged for legal work if the sale falls through.

Speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Money Box programme recently, Hudson called HSBC’s changes badly thought out and unnecessary. He also told HSBC that if it had concerns about the firms it dealt with, The Law Society would manage its panel for free and ensure it did business only with accredited firms.

But Martijn Van der Heijden, head of lending at HSBC, refused the offer and defended its decision.

He told the show’s host Paul Lewis that it made the changes to reflect what is happening in the lending market, with other lenders restricting their panels to combat fraud and for regulatory reasons.

Van Der Heijden told Lewis: “Our data shows that since we restricted the panel over 99% of cases have gone through without a hitch.”

Recommended

Week in numbers

172% – The rise in demand for petrol last Thursday amid fears of a strike, retailer group RMI Petrol reports. 686 – The number of pages in the Finance Bill which passed through Parliament last week. 33 – The average age of Treasury staff compared to a general civil service average of 45, an internal […]

Reforming India: just the beginning

By Kunal Desai, Neptune India Fund

As global investors continue to scour emerging markets through the lens of reform potential, India shines bright. Indeed, we think it can sparkle even brighter. We anticipate India’s self-imposed 10-year ‘policy holiday’ to turn into one of the most pro-growth and pro-investment policy calendars seen in Asia in years. The Indian electorate has engineered a historic verdict. We now have the strongest Indian government since 1984, with the pro-market Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) achieving an absolute majority for the first time in the party’s history.

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up