Halifax’s so-called promise turned out to be worthless

This letter is in the nature of a cautionary note to advisers on using Halifax’s inaccurately titled Mortgage Promise application in principle.

I recently had a tricky client to place – a contractor without a permanent right to reside looking for a large loan.

Having discussed the case with a Halifax Premier underwriter I was advised that if the client concerned achieved an A grade credit score the case would sail through.

Diligently, I performed an AIP with Halifax and the case did indeed score an A.

However, while holding a certificate promising a given loan assuming a suitable property is found in set period of time might look like confirmation enough – certainly enough to bolster an offer and keep an estate agent and vendor happy – I was appalled to discover that it was in fact worthless.

On converting the AIP a few weeks later I discovered that the client was now only achieving a B grade, thus rendering the so-called promise useless, changing the underwriting requirements and most significantly of all, reducing the maximum loan so that she could no longer proceed.

How can Halifax justify promising a client a mortgage and then going back on it?

I quite understand that time ch-anges credit histories, and that in the event of the data being input incorrectly a lender reserves the right to change a score, but given that I was converting a recent (less than month old) AIP without altering any aspect of my client’s background, on what grounds does Halifax feel it can change its mind?

Quite frankly, why even bother conducting the AIP in the first place?

Andrew Strange
Head of mortgage advice
Cavendish Young
Belgravia
London