Truro-based The Mortgage Group has agreed a public relations deal with Axis Media Group in a bid to restore its tarnished reputation.
The Mortgage Group is run by Tony Murtagh and was the subject of an undercover investigation by the BBC's Panorama programme in 2001. Murtagh is also a director of Capital Credit, based at the same office address. The programme alleged TMG targets the vulnerable and said 99% of the business went to one lender – igroup.
After the broadcast, igroup commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct a review into the allegations. That report, seen by Mortgage Strategy, revealed TMG to have had a number of compliance failings.
The report says allegations that TMG “targets the vulnerable [and] targets people with adverse credit histories” were partially substantiated. The report also says that allegations that TMG staff ignored OFT guidelines on non-status lending were “proven in a number of aspects”.
And Mortgage Strategy can also reveal that former igroup managing director David Johnson is now a director of TMG.
Axis has yet to finalise an agreement with TMG but is expected to start working for the broker in February – a move that is likely to surprise sections of the industry aware of TMG's chequered history.
Tony Yorke, head of communications at igroup at the time of the Panorama investigation and now managing director of Axis Media Group, comments: “I have no doubt that some people will raise their eyebrows but that is for them to worry about. I have looked at TMG and have assessed what we can achieve. I know we can do a good job for them.
“If there are negative perceptions out there we will change them in the fullness of time.”