Regulation good for consumers

The FSA regime will benefit consumers and intermediaries and the transition to statutory regulation has been smooth, say senior industry figures.

Speaking at the Council of Mortgage Lenders annual conference last week, Stuart Bernau, commercial and treasury director of Nationwide, gave his opinions on trends prevalent in the mainstream sector.

He told delegates that although the increased amount of documentation involved in the mortgage process made it cumbersome for consumers, it would make it more transparent and easier to understand. Bernau says: “Consumers will benefit in the long run from a large number of lenders chasing a smaller amount of business.”

John Maltby, chief executive of Kensington Mortgages, spoke on behalf of the sub-prime sector and told delegates that the market was vibrant and continuing to grow. Maltby also welcomed FSA investigations into the sector saying regulation as a whole was an opportunity for a fresh start.

Maltby told the audience that although the past was not always useful in predicting the future, it was important to use the experience retained from previous challenges if things became tougher.

Paragon Mortgages chief executive John Heron, speaking on behalf of buy-to-let lenders, told delegates that the sector was consistently outperforming other areas and praised the CML for its landlord and lender surveys.

Heron urged buy-to-let lenders to continue to develop the profile of the sector and spoke of the need for flexible and improved products.

Steven Crawshaw, chief executive of Bradford & Bingley, welcomed the statutory regime and told delegates that it hadn’t caused the meltdown some had predicted. However, he warned that alongside depolarisation, forthcoming insurance regulation and the emerging complaints culture in the UK, mortgage regulation was another in a growing list of pressures on intermediaries.