Asylum blunder forces ICMG to change tactics

ICMG has been forced to make amendments to its broker literature after its latest bulletin was sent out offering mortgages to adverse borrowers including asylum seekers.

In the bulletin, sent out earlier this month, the Southend-based company offered igroup funded products suitable for borrowers including “refugees, asylum seekers, medical professionals on short contracts, Commonwealth applicants, Eastern-bloc applicants, [and] foreign workers.” The document advertised rates starting from 2.5% over base with proc fees up to 1.75%.

But Ray Bohringer, managing partner at ICMG, told Mortgage Strategy: “The lender guidelines on the product were simply misinterpreted, for which we apologise. We never set this product up with a view to attracting asylum seekers. The inference of the brochure was that any asylum seeker could apply for a loan. That obviously isn&#39t the case.

“There are exceptions – foreign individuals who we might lend to – such as somebody who is holding down a job, maybe in the NHS or in IT. But that means key workers and not asylum seekers.”

igroup was quick to point out that while the lender does lend and brand-lend to foreign workers with no permanent rights to reside in the UK, its deals carry checks and safeguards such as lower maximum LTV rates.

Bob Sturgess, igroup communications manager, says: “We do offer a facility for employed foreign nationals looking to buy a property in the UK and we&#39d treat them as we would any other applicant across our GEM range.

“As already stated by ICMG, the marketing literature does not accurately reflect igroup&#39s strict lending criteria.”