Calls for The Woolwich to rethink its retention policy

Brokers are calling on The Woolwich to rethink its client retention policy which leaves customers unprotected by regulation if their policy was completed before M-Day and they later switch deals.

As it stands, a customer with The Woolwich who took out a retention product before M-Day is not issued a Key Facts Illustration or protected by regulation if they change to a different product within that period.

Jonathan Cornell, technical director at Hamptons International Mortgages accuses The Woolwich of missing the point of regulation.

He says that despite the broker being paid a proc fee, the retention product is not seen by The Woolwich as a remortgage so therefore does not need a KFI. Cornell says it’s a shame that customers will not be protected.

Alfie Cooper, a sole trader at AC Mortgage and Finance Services, was recently renewing deals with The Woolwich when he came across its policy.

He says: “This seems contrary to everything brokers have been told in the past, that if you have any dealings with the customer everything should be written down. It doesn’t seem right to not issue a KFI.”

The Financial Services Authority says that if a mortgage offer has all the features of a new mortgage offer, it should be regulated.

However, it also says that if it was written into the customer’s contract that the mortgage would not be protected, then The Woolwich is within its rights not to issue a KFI.

Robin Gordon-Walker, spokesman for the FSA, says: “The Woolwich will not have made this decision lightly and I’m sure it will have been checked thoroughly by its lawyers.

“Our rules are for contracts that were issued from October 31 onwards. However, it would need to be written into the person’s contract.”

Andy Gray, head of mortgages for The Woolwich, says that if a client is not borrowing any more money and the terms of the agreement have not changed, there is no need for a new KFI to be issued.