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This brainwave could lead to self-harm

Rumour has it that there’s been a big falling out within the Abbey’s marketing team. It seems that one faction wanted to call its new mortgage offering the ‘Victor Meldrew’ range while another felt the ‘Andy Millman’ mortgage’ more appropriate.

In the end nobody could mediate between “I don’t believe it” and “Are you avin’ a laff?” as the better strap line, so they decided to go with a variant on the M.A.S.H theme – Suicide isn’t painless. This is because for anyone daft enough to borrow 5 x their joint income financial suicide is likely, and it will certainly be painful.

And did you clock that crass justification from mortgage product executive Nici Audham Gardiner? She claims: “We have made changes to our mortgage proposition to help more people, especially first-time buyers, purchase the home they want.” Yeah, right. In much the same way as the leading lemming found a shortcut to the beach.

Presumably applicants will now be flocking through Abbey’s doors requesting to sample said mortgage proposition, no doubt desperate to populate their application template (please save me from business-speak pomposity).

And why is this level of borrowing deemed necessary? Because house prices are so expensive, that’s why. To ease the pressure in the market Abbey’s brainwave is to give punters enough money to buy into the game. A bit like the best way to bring a forest fire under control is to pour petrol on it.

Silly old me thought that if people couldn’t afford to buy at today’s prices, tomorrow those prices would fall to an affordable level.

The Oxford English Dictionary people are pretty miffed too. They’ll now have to relocate the word ‘Abbey’ so it fits between ‘incomprehensible’ and ‘insane’ .

Thank heavens for intermediaries. At least prospective borrowers with the sense to chan-nel their mortgage enquiries through brokers are unlikely to be allowed to go down the self-harming route.

And shouldn’t our regulator be having its say in respect of this nonsense? With the possibility of two more base rate rises in the next four months and the nation’s consumers already wallowing in personal debt at unprecedented levels, wouldn’t it behove the watchdog to roundly condemn this initiative? I’m all for affordability determining borrowing levels but surely someone with the intellectual capacity of an amoeba would recognise that Abbey’s formula is a recipe for disaster.

As the Monty Python team once famously put it – no-one expects the Spanish Inquisition. It seems that Banco Santander is intent on becoming a 21st century Torquemada – because 5 x joint income certainly seems a lot like torture to me.


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