The Mortgage Mole


Chilli-con Carney

The audience was literally groaning in the isles last week in response to Council of Mortgage Lenders director general Paul Smee’s puntastic speech at the trade body’s annual dinner in London.

Some 1,050 people were in attendance, 3 per cent up on last year, with Smee providing a brief speech before dinner started.

His theme was how the mortgage market, after falling on hard times after 2008, had now recovered.

“In 2013 at the beginning of the year we were being asked whether the mortgage market was open for business. Well, as Bob Monkhouse once said, they laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian, they’re not laughing now,” and to be fair, Monkhouse’s classic gag did indeed receive a solid laugh.

“They asked if the mortgage market was open for business they are not asking now.”

But he was saving the best until last and that came with his description of how the

Government had wheeled out the big guns for the housing market with its Help to Buy scheme.

“Now before the scheme is even operational we’re in a place where all the talk is of the market overheating,” explained Smee. “The new Bank of England governor is wheeling out the big guns to stop overheating. My word to the industry is with this governor don’t worry about overheating, it’s always chilli-con Carney.”



Mortgage Strategy reporter Devraj Ray, celebrity stalker par excellence, was up to his old tricks last week when he spotted Outnumbered star Hugh Dennis outside Mortgage Strategy’s offices.

“Initially when I demanded a photo he looked kind of scared,” Ray told Mole. “But how could he resist my beaming smile? He seemed to soften a bit when I told him I was a big fan of Outnumbered, and then boom, we had the picture”. There you have it.