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Packaging takes centre stage in Nice

The industry fell quiet last week as 85 of the leading innovators in the packaging sector, not to mention the top packager-friendly lenders, gathered in Nice for Mortgage Strategy’s inaugural Mortgage Packager Summit.

Running for three days at the Palais de la Mediterranee, the programme included talks on a variety of issues including the impact of technology and what the future holds for packagers and the specialist market in general. Little wonder that so many issues were tackled as packagers believe they are the innovators of the industry rather than lenders, according to a poll at the event.

One of the most positive stories to come out of the Summit is the news that the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries is launching a standing committee to represent packagers in a bid to unify the industry and tackle important issues. HBOS also came up trumps, revealing that it may launch a mortgage brand to compete with do-it-yourself new entrants.

On the technology front, sourcing systems Tri-gold and Mortgage Brain were slammed as not up to scratch for packagers, with delegates calling for an all-encompassing super-platform.

But while delegates played a round of golf after the last seminar on Friday morning, lenders in the UK braced themselves for bad news from the Financial Services Authority regarding exit fees. New measures mean lenders could have to pay compensation to past customers who were charged exit fees that were more than their original quotes.

An FSA spokesman admits that there could be a large number of consumers with the potential to complain, while Northern Rock revealed it has created a 15m fund for potential exit fee claims.

Brokers have long been up in arms about the hidden charges that snag borrowers when they wish to exit their mortgages. But the FSA can’t be left to talk the talk – it needs to be seen to walk the walk and name and shame lenders that refuse to stop increasing these underhand charges.

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