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IMLA hits out at extension of SLS

Peter Williams, executive director of IMLA, says the Bank of England’s decision to extend the term of its Special Liquidity Scheme is madness as it will exclude a lot of broker lenders.

The head of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association warns that while the bank’s decision to extend the SLS term for most lenders is to be welcomed, this move does little to improve the current state of liquidity in the mortgage market.

Williams says: “Lenders might be able to clear their balance sheets of old debt, but the problem our mortgage market faces is a lack of new debt finance.

“With such turbulence in the wider market, Libor has moved up again, having already reached a seven year high this week.

“Banks are unable to help themselves in these conditions, and the strength of our economy depends in part on their health.”

He argues that the BoE can neither afford to ignore this nor continue to oppose government support, not least with respect to the wider financial stability agenda.

The SLS still excludes lenders which do not take deposits, preventing a large proportion of the mortgage market from moving the assets already on their balance sheets.

He adds: “The broker sector is responsible for nearly 80% of all new mortgages – it’s madness to rule out a large number of intermediary lenders from accessing the Bank’s funds when mortgage finance is so tight.

“Even if the BoE persists in offering no support to lenders making new loans, IMLA would strongly urge the BoE to reconsider which lenders the SLS is available to in order to create a level playing field.”

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