The changes will take effect on Mortgage Day when the FSA will assume statutory responsibility for regulating the mortgage industry. The Mortgage Code will no longer apply from this date, and MCCB will cease its activities. MCCB has, however, put in place various arrangements to provide assistance to registered firms and consumers after this date.
The MCCB's helpline will close on October 31 2004. After this date the helpline will no longer be manned; all calls will be greeted with a recorded announcement which will confirm the closure, and the caller will be provided with details of the Helpline numbers at the FSA or Financial Ombudsman Service.
The website will also close on October 31 2004. However, the homepage will remain live for a further 12 months, and will contain information to direct visitors to either the relevant section of the FSA website, or in the case of customer complaint or redress issues, to the FOS.
The MCCB has announced that is unable to process any new applications for registration it receives after September 30 2004, due to the time it takes to process such applications. A registration period of less than one calendar month is not a practical option for either MCCB or the firm concerned. Firms requesting application packs in September are being advised of the September 30 deadline for receipt of completed applications.
Firms are reminded that on or after October 31 2004 they should not issue any material to customers which indicates that the mortgage being discussed would be covered by the Mortgage Code or MCCB Rules. This includes the 'You and your mortgage' leaflet, the Mortgage Code booklet and any tailored firm specific information such as a Terms of Business letter referring to the Code or a firm's MCCB registration.
From October 31 2004, FSA rules and requirements for information disclosure will apply. Firms should familiarise themselves with the FSA's transitional rules on such matters. These are accessible from the FSA website by following the links to the 'Tailored Handbook' for mortgage firms.
As the MCCB will be unable to reply to any written correspondence received after October 2004, registered firms are asked to ensure all outstanding matters and correspondence are dealt with prior to this date.
Luke March, chief executive of the MCCB says: “With Mortgage Day now fast approaching, we urge registered firms to be aware of the changes which will happen when we hand over regulation of the market to the FSA.
“One of our priorities throughout our time as regulator has been to ensure registered firms have all the information needed to operate effectively and compliantly, and we aim to remain as helpful as ever in the coming weeks. I would like to thank all registered firms for their attention to these final closure arrangements and for helping ensure a successful and smooth transition to statutory regulation.”