Lenders rapped for ageism

Lenders have been slammed by Victoria Mortgages for continuing to discriminate against borrowers on the basis of age.

Last week Advantage revealed that it was joining Victoria in scrapping maximum age limits on its sub-prime range to allow people to take out mortgages despite being aged over 65 at completion.

But while Victoria welcomes Adv-antage’s move it says the rest of the industry is failing many home buyers by continuing to implement an ageist borrowing policy.

Victoria, which since its launch 18 months ago has not had a maximum age limit for borrowers, says it is unacceptable to discriminate against an applicant on the basis of age. This is especially relevant in the sub-prime market where borrowers tend to have a higher average age than their prime equivalents.

Alex Forrester, managing director of Victoria, says: “We believe that lenders need to be fair and reasonable with borrowers and assess them according to their financial circumstances with an affordability check. It is possible to assess any borrower, whether they are 40, 60 or 80.”

He adds: “Just because someone is over a certain age, that is no reason to discriminate against them. We feel there is no defence for having a maximum age limit. We don’t impose one and other lenders shouldn’t either.”

Forrester believes that other lenders are likely to follow Victoria and Advantage’s lead and scrap age limits.

But Paul Hunt, head of marketing at Platform, which has a maximum age limit of 70, says it does not feel it is responsible or prudent to burden people over retirement age with debt.

He adds: “Our age limit is standard for the industry and based on expected income in retirement.”