View more on these topics

Deeds release fees are in consumer groups’ sights

I always try to keep an eye on mortgage reporting in the consumer press to stay abreast of the hot issues. And there is one that is consistent and shows no sign of cooling. Last week I came across the latest salvo in The Guardian.

So just what is this hot issue? Exit or deeds release fees.

I can almost hear your interest draining away as you read. What’s all the fuss about? After all, it’s only a nominal charge levied at the end of a mortgage’s life.

The fees are clearly shown in the lender’s tariffs and charges. Therefore the borrower should be in no doubt that there will be a charge.

Unfortunately, as with so many things, the reality is not so simple. Consumers and consumer groups are beginning to take an interest and voice their opinions.

When interviewed, one mortgage borrower who faced a 225 fee to get her deeds back said she was outraged at the fee charged. What is illuminating is that the customer knew the charge had risen by 46 since the previous year. She used a straightforward analogy to illustrate the point. “It’s as if a travel agency imposed a 50 levy for allowing passengers off the plane on their return to Gatwick”.

This is an interesting view but more importantly, it is a customer’s view.

There is a serious point here. There will be other customers who have issues with these fees. Some will voice their objections, others won’t. It’s a fact these fees have risen fairly sharply over that past 12 months. What will future rises be?

There are more than enough documents for customers to read when taking out their mortgages and you can bet they won’t be sitting down and ploughing through the post- completion fees tariff.

The biggest problem is there is no discrimination with these fees. Repay early and you are charged, pay for 25 years and you’re still charged. There’s customer loyalty for you. No wonder some customers are cynical about financial services.

It boils down to the old chestnut “It’s the principle.”

I suggest borrowers understand that lenders have costs to close a mortgage but this is an issue of proportionality and fairness. Can 50% rises in these fees be justified? Maybe lenders have been slow to review their charges – but on second thoughts there seems to be an awful lot of lenders going through a review process.

To many in the industry this issue may seem trivial in the context of some of the serious problems the lending industry faces and I must admit I agree with that sentiment to a certain degree.

But any industry that overlooks customer feedback of this type is dangerously close to being seen as taking a high handed approach to consumers.

Why pay for expensive focus groups when you can get this type of feedback for free?

Simon biddle


Nationwide encourages borrowers to fix for longer

Nationwide is to slash the reservation fee on its five and 10-year fixed rate mortgages later this week.The fees are dropping from 389 to 199 to encourage homeowners to fix heir monthly mortgage payments for longer.Mortgage holders can benefit from taking a fixed rate mortgage over a longer term. They can plan financially for a […]

Platform reveals Car Chaos winner

A lucky adviser has come out on top as the winner of Platforms Classic Car Chaos competition, successfully navigating their way through the online hazardous highway game.Stuart Burrows, a financial adviser at Heavenly Finances based in Manchester, cleverly planned his route around runaway sheep, dangerous drivers and flying birds to rack up a top score […]

Is there any need to levy higher lending charges?

Halifax and Abbey have hit back at Nationwide after it accused them of levying unnecessary lending charges. Stuart Bernau, executive director at Nationwide, says both lenders run the risk of being accused of blatant profiteering by levying a higher lending charge and higher interest rates for those needing to borrow more than 90% of the […]

N&P to reduce fixed rates

From Monday October 17, Norwich and Peterborough will be launching two new tracker mortgages and making a number of improvements to its existing mortgage product range available in the UK and Gibraltar. Most of N&Ps fixed rates will be reduced by between 0.10% and 0.20%. However, some rates, including some two-year and five-year fixed rates, […]


Neptune video: Abenomics: the impetus for Japan’s fast-track recovery?

The remarkable performance of the TOPIX over the past year has caused many sceptical equity investors to look again at the Japanese market. These returns have come despite very significant problems facing the Japanese economy. Chris Taylor, manager of the Neptune Japan Opportunities Fund, discusses these problems and whether Abenomics will be able to overcome them, enabling the market to continue to rise.

In the video, Taylor addresses the following:

• The size and speed of Japan’s unprecedented monetary policy
• Abenomics and the implications should it fail
• Corporate Japan and beneficiaries of government policy


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up