AMI says data law is used to cut out brokers

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has accused lenders of using the Data Protection Act as a way of depriving brokers of information which could help them retain clients.

The attack came during a debate between lenders and introducers on the future of the intermediary mortgage market.

Chaired by Kevin Duffy, managing director of Hamptons Mortgages, the panel consisted of Tim Hague, director of BM Solutions, Charles Haresnape, managing director of mortgages at Bank of Scotland, Kevin Paterson, sales director at Park Row Associates and Simon Jones, director at Savills Private Finance.

The discussion opened with the issue of direct channels versus brokers, with lenders urging the latter to branch out into areas beyond mortgages by cross-selling.

Brokers later hit out at lenders claiming ownership of clients and not providing them with the information to help them retain clients.

Chris Cummings, director-general of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, accuses lenders of using the Data Protection Act as a defence, which he says is not acceptable.

He adds: “We are going to put a form of words on the AMI website that all brokers should put into contracts with lenders to allow access to customer information once cases are completed.”

The debate moved on to proc fees with brokers calling for unified fees. But Haresnape disputes this and claims technology and other factors have to be considered. Brokers questioned why online cost savings hadn’t improved proc fees. Hague says that despite submitting cases online, many brokers telephone to check if they have been received.

But Lockhart Bruce, managing director of Opus, asked why, if packagers have developed systems that send confirmation emails back to brokers, can’t lenders do the same?

Haresnape says BoS is working on improved case tracking. He also calls on brokers to charge their clients fees.

He says: “I can’t understand why brokers don’t charge clients fees. It is a professional service they are offering and any other profession would charge for giving advice.”

The debate concluded with one delegate asking Haresnape if the fact HBOS pays Openwork appointed representatives a 0.1% more proc fees than other brokers is related to its million pound investment in the network. Haresnape declined to comment.