Packagers call for TCF treatment from lenders

Packagers want lenders to apply the Treat- ing Customers Fairly initiative to them.

The demand comes despite the Financial Services Authority emphasising that TCF is only designed to protect consumers.

Nevertheless, packagers say the regime would stop lenders from failing to provide them with notice about product changes and cuts to administration fees.

Vic Jannels, chairman of the Professional Mortgage Packagers Alli-ance, says the move would help the packaging sector improve its services to brokers and would ultimately benefit borrowers.

Jannels says: “We appreciate that times are tough but do some lenders have a hidden agenda to drive a proportion of the packaging sector out of business?

“If so, this is short-sighted because packagers will always be an important distribution channel.”

He adds: “To achieve TCF, fair treatment should apply across the whole market, not just to the relationship between firms and borrowers. So we’re asking lenders to give us fair warning about product withdrawals and to be more even-handed when it comes to cutting fees.”

John Mawdsley, director of The Mortgage Partnership, says: “If you take TCF to its logical conclusion, lenders have a responsibility to deliver agreed products or at least give adequate notice if they can’t.

“This should apply whether they’re dealing through packagers or not.”

But a spokeswoman for the FSA says: “TCF principles are in place to protect consumers.

“Under TCF, responsibilities as distributors are outlined but the principles do not apply to packagers. Only consumers are customers.”

Kevin Duffy, managing director of Robert Sterling, says: “I fail to understand how TCF can only apply to borrowers. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

“Once again we see the regulator behaving disproportionately in favour of consumers to the detriment of firms. It’s gesture politics.”

And Roger Morris, managing director of em-financial, says: “Lenders must put internal systems in place to reduce the number of products they pull without notice.

“Many lenders ride roughshod over the packaging sector and this is unacceptable. Packagers deserve to be considered by the TCF framework so they have the means to protect themselves and borrowers.”