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Checks on lenders’ anti-fraud systems are long overdue

I was interested to read last week that the Financial Services Authority is to visit 20 mortgage lenders to check they have adequate anti-fraud systems.

The nub of the matter is that lenders were complicit in getting people to bend the truth. Broker consultants would tell us how to navigate the system underlining that there would be no checks.

Northern Rock even had a special underwriter whose job was to find a way. Products were designed to shovel cash out the door to anyone with a heartbeat.

That, together with regulation overlooking the requirement to vet brokers, created a situation where being honest required you to tie both arms behind your back in the fight against the competition.

The Bank of England and the FSA allowed lenders to create this environment. Responsibility for underwriting and terms lies with lenders, not brokers. At least the FSA is belatedly picking up on this.

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