View more on these topics

Glasnost is needed among lenders

I have been following the unfolding story of len-ders supplying brokers with mortgage account information with growing interest.

The issue of what has become known as client authorisation has become muddied, with lenders taking differing approaches to it. And excellent work by the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has fallen on deaf ears. This is an own goal for lenders, the wider industry and for our customers.

It doesn’t seem like a tough nut to crack. AMI has put in place a solution that works for all parties. It has supplied a letter that, when signed by a client, allows an intermediary to receive information about the account if the lender is willing. So far, response has been muted. It’s hard to see why.

Much of the frustration surrounds lenders preventing this flow of information by citing the Data Protection Act. This has been headed off at the pass by the Commissioner of Data Protection issuing guidance that should sweep away lender objections. It couldn’t be clearer – brokers should only seek access to information when necessary. There should be restrictions in the client authorisation to only allow information of a certain nature to be given unless the client has given unrestricted access. There should also be agreement on the length of time the authorisation lasts.

It must be frustrating for brokers. Everything is fine and dandy during the application process but after completion the door closes. The information that brokers feel they need to help their clients is not complex. It includes redemption balances, essential in working out new mortgage requirements; payment details, especially when responding to direct customer requests; and details on customer retention policies, further advances and complaints. There is a clear need for this information.

Cynics say that lenders not supplying this information hides their real agenda which is to cut brokers out. Perhaps direct to customer retention strategies can be employed? This could be seen as no more than a basic approach to supporting distribution that is intermediary-based.

So it’s a big thumbs up to AMI for listening to member feedback and pushing the issue up the agenda. This gives me the chance to review our policy. It is a surprise that the bulk of the lending industry hasn’t adopted an open approach. I hope to see some glasnost soon.


Dear Delia

My clients bought their property with a sub-prime lender due to their credit history under the Right to Buy Scheme in December 2005. The property is valued at 100,000 and they owe 46,000 on their mortgage. They incurred a County Court judgement of 4,500 in February 2006, which they satisfied in June. They wish to raise 29,000 to consolidate debts and make home improvements. What are their options?

em- launches range for Northern Ireland

Mortgage packager em- has launched a new semi-exclusive range of non-conforming and near prime commercial products through em-commercial. These products are dedicated to the growing Northern Ireland market and are being launched in association with Commercial First Northern Ireland.Both ranges should gain interest from brokers across the area with the non-conforming offering up to 75% […]

African PC scam is no worry

A BBC expos矨as shown thousands of Britons’ bank details being sold for less than 20 in West Africa but lenders insist the mortgage industry is not at risk. Last Monday, the BBC’s Real Story revealed that fraudsters in Nigeria are able to find internet banking data stored on recycled computers sent from the UK to […]

Multiples are a scandal-in-waiting

The papers are full of concern over the huge amount of outstanding unsecured personal debt in the UK. The base rate has edged up 0.25% and the Monetary Policy Committee is widely acknowledged to be ready to recommend raising the rate further. Property possessions are on the up and more people are failing to meet their financial liabilities.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up