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Vital to halt wave of repossessions

The publication of the Financial Services Authority’s latest mortgage lending statistics make grim reading on a number of fronts, not least the dramatic rise in mortgage and secured accounts in arrears and the 68% increase in the number of repossessions since 2007.

It seems part of the reason for the difference between the 40,000 repossessions reported in 2008 by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the FSA’s figures is that secured lenders are far more likely to repossess properties than mainstream first lenders, so account for a disproportionately large percentage of repossessions.

Mainstream lenders have mostly heeded the government’s call to make repossession a last resort but the same cannot be said for many secured or second charge lenders, which appear immune to the message that repossession should be avoided at all costs.

Most of these fringe lenders are not members of either the CML or Finance and Leasing Association, which have done an excellent job in making members aware of their responsibilities.

It is disappointing that some secured lenders are still requesting arrears be repaid over short time periods without any regard to debtors’ means and instigating repossession for low arrears.

The government, FSA and responsible lenders should put pressure on this minority to take a more enlightened approach. If this cannot be achieved quickly, then legislative changes must be made as a matter of urgency to protect consumers.


Lenders need to stop squeezing the professionals

As we approach the end of Q1 2009, with many licking the deep wounds their organisations have suffered in the buy-to-let sector, no doubt they are now reflecting on their errors and looking for a way ahead.

Jet blast

While the rest of us are cutting down and swapping our triple quilted toilet tissue for the supermarket’s budget range, it was good to see Royal Bank of Scotland trimming some of its spending.

Compliance is a safe bet for any job-seekers

In a speech last week Hector Sants, chief executive of the Financial Services Authority, said the regulator would move away from principles-based regulation and focus on a more intrusive and direct style of regulation.

FSA and advisers both have their shortcomings

The seemingly endless procession of individuals disciplined by the Financial Services Authority suggests that high moral scruples may not be inherent within all those that the FSA approved on Mortgage Day.


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