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Big players shun mortgage support scheme

Large lenders are shunning the government’s Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme and instead offering their own initiatives.

The government scheme, unveiled last month by housing minister Margaret Beckett, aims to help struggling home owners remain in their homes.

The initiative allows eligible borrowers suffering a temporary loss of income to defer mortgage interest payments for up to two years.

To qualify borrowers must have bought their home before December 1 2008, be owner-occupiers, have an outstanding mortgage of less than £400,000 and savings of below £16,000.

They should also have a regular household income and be able to make a minimum contribution of 30% of the total interest payment.

Qualifying borrowers will need to have kept up mortgage payments for at least five months and sought independent financial advice.

Big high street lenders offering their customers the scheme include Lloyds Banking Group, Northern Rock, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Bradford & Bingley – all of which are wholly or partially owned by the state.

Other lenders participating in the scheme include the National Australia Bank Group, parent of Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, and Cumberland Building Society.

But Barclays, HSBC, Nationwide and Santander have confirmed they will not offer the government scheme, choosing instead to offer borrowers alternative support initiatives.

Beckett said: “Many families are worried about how to pay their mortgages and we are determined to ensure there is help available. “Our scheme is a result of cooperation between the government, lenders and advice services. On top of the measures we have already put in place, this will help borrowers who need more time to get back on their feet.”

Peter Williams, executive director of the Intermediary Lenders Association, said: There are complicated requirements attached to this scheme and it won’t be suitable for many borrowers.”

A spokesman for Abbey says it supports the principle of the initiative but that it has developed its own programme to help mortgage customers who are experiencing financial problems.

Management buyout at title insurance specialist

Chief executive Christopher Taylor has completed a management buyout of title insurance specialist London & European, purchasing 90% of the shares from the firm’s former parent April.

Taylor had a 10% stake in the firm but he says that in the downturn, France-based April has differing needs from L&E and a deal was struck to buy the remaining stake.

Taylor said: “L&E has had a great partnership with April since 2001 but now the companies have differing needs and we reached an amicable agreement to transfer these shares.”

No figures have been released on how much the April stake was bought for.


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