This is the 200th issue of your number one mortgage magazine so what better time to look back over the past 12 months? And what a 12 months it’s been. Business sales, acquisitions, network closures, mergers, failures, sackings, resignations and the biggest news of all – regulation. You name it, Mortgage Strategy has covered it.
Despite pleas from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association to review the Mortgages Conduct of Business rules last week, regulation is here to stay. And while a review of the rules would be welcome, Mortgage Strategy does not envisage life getting any easier. If anything, as we exclusively report on page 5 this week, it might just get a bit tougher.The Financial Services Authority has launched a fresh probe into the sale of self-cert loans to find what changes lenders have “instigated to their systems and controls in relation to self-certified and fast-track lending over the last 18 months” and to determine their views on developments in the sector. The FSA defines fast-track lending as a process “where the lender chooses not to seek full income verification as long as credit quality is judged to be high and the security margin good”. Specifically, the FSA is asking lenders whether or not their firm has reviewed self-cert lending or fast-track lending and, if so, what their conclusions or actions were. It also wants to know the size and characteristics of the market, including “how it has developed or changed over the last years”. It wants to know how lenders have changed their behaviour or control mechanisms and what impact this has had on the market and on consumers. Be warned. The only time incomes should be self-certified is if clients genuinely have no way of proving their income – self-employed people or those with other avenues of income. If you are self-certifying for any other reason you are committing fraud.