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End ‘sneaky’ charges, Which? tells Osborne

Consumer champion Which? has urged Chancellor George Osborne to put an end to “sneaky” mortgage fees and charges that often leave borrowers confused over which deal is best for them.

Research by Which? found more than 40 different fees and charges in the mortgage market, ranging from set-up fees and payments for arrears to application charges and final repayment fees.

The research also found that average arrangement fees have almost doubled in the past five years, from £878 in 2009 to £1,588 in 2014.

In many cases lenders use different names for the same fee – an application fee can also be called a booking or reservation fee.

Which? says the array of charges and fees blurs the true cost of a mortgage so that borrowers often do not know which is the best deal for them. 

Just 3 per cent of people surveyed by Which? could identify the cheapest of five two-year fixed-rate mortgages.

The consumer champion is calling for Osborne to use his Autumn Statement next month to speak out against the trend.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd says: “Homeowners could be paying over the odds for their mortgage because of the complex range of fees and charges that prevent them from finding the best deal.

“The Chancellor must act now to stop sneaky fees and charges and end mortgage confusion for consumers. 

“The Government and the regulator should also explore better ways of presenting the total cost of mortgages.”

More than 37,000 people have lent their support to the Which? campaign.


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FCA rejects claims that MMR has failed

The FCA has rejected claims that the Bank of England has been given powers to intervene in the mortgage market because the MMR has failed. Speaking last week at the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ annual conference in London, FCA director and consumer lending Linda Woodall said the Financial Policy Committee’s interventions “do not undermine the […]


Jon Hall steps down as Saffron chief executive

Jon Hall has resigned from his position as chief executive of Saffron Building Society. Hall has served as chief executive of the mutual since October 2011, having spent the previous seven years as chief financial officer. A Saffron spokesman says: “Jon Hall has resigned from Saffron and an announcement about his replacement will be made […]

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Absence management systems gone AWOL from UK’s SMEs, reports Jelf

A quarter (23 per cent)* of the UK’s small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not have an absence management system in place, according to new research from Jelf Employee Benefits. Despite 69 per cent* of organisations having a system in place, three-quarters (75 per cent) report that it is not providing them with sufficiently empowering absence or health data to inform an effective wellbeing programme.


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