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Abbey axes 6,000 solicitors from its residential mortgage panel

Abbey has trimmed just over 6,000 solicitors and conveyancers from its residential mortgage panel.

The lender says following a recent review of its panel it has written to 6,000 of its 24,000 firms to tell them it will no longer be needing their services.

A spokesman for Abbey says: “We can confirm that we have written to a number of firms that have undertaken few or no transactions with it over the past year to advise them that we will be removing them from our panel.

“This reduction will enable us to streamline the panel of solicitors/conveyancers that we work with. We have put in place a process to deal with requests for reinstatement and each request will be evaluated on its merits.”

Simon White, director of London’s Chartered Surveyors, says it’s a wise move from Abbey and will help control who it does business with.

He says: “A lot of lenders have been cutting down their panels of surveyors. There’s so much mortgage fraud in the market, lenders are looking for ways to have tighter control over their business.”

Changes were also made last week at Santander’s other mortgage brand Alliance & Leicester as it revealed it would be reducing its proc fee to directly authorised brokers that do not use a mortgage club or key account to submit applications.

From March 31 A&L is cutting its proc fee from 0.25% to 0.20% if brokers fail to select a mortgage club when submitting applications.

The standard proc fee of 0.20% will be paid regardless of product term or product type for brokers who do not select a mortgage club.

The lender says the change will be fully disclosed to brokers and clients on the Key Facts Illustration.

Ricky Okey, managing director of Alliance & Leicester Intermediary sales, says: “The message that brokers should take from this, is the importance of aligning yourself with a mortgage club or network during the mortgage application process to ensure you receive the best proc fees available to you.

“At present less than 1% of mortgages completed with us are done so at the company rate which shows that the majority of intermediaries do this already.”

But he says anecdotal evidence suggests that on some occasions not aligning an application with a club or network has resulted in getting the company rate and brokers have seen a loss in revenue.

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