Funding should top the political agenda

ALAN CLEARY
ALAN CLEARY MANAGING DIRECTOR EXACT

The Council of Mortgage Lenders’ recent annual lunch was a brighter affair than last year’s.

There appeared to be a lot more professionals in attendance – probably 600 or so – and there was definitely optimism in the air.

At the same time last year we were right in the thick of the mess and everyone was pessimistic.

But this time I had a number of interesting conversations about whether we have turned a corner in the market and I’m pleased to report that everyone I spoke to thought this was the case.

With the general election done and dusted we now need to see a concerted effort from the government, trade bodies, regulators and the industry to inject some momentum into the funding of mortgages.

I was pleased to see the Lloyds Banking Group securitisation get away so well and at decent spreads but more needs to be done to get new lenders up and running, with the potential to bring fresh funding into the mortgage space.

The consensus at the CML lunch was that gross lending this year will be around £150bn, which is pretty much flat compared with last year.

So if we don’t do something in the next few months to kick-start funding, not only will 2010 be flat but 2011 will be too.

A number of professionals and organisations are already lobbying for more attention to be paid to the mortgage market so let’s hope some medicine is administered quickly.