A round of applause please for the National Fraud Authority in establishing the Mortgage Fraud Forum.
It is timely that stakeholders in the mortgage industry have come together to establish a forum to tackle fraud, which has blighted the housing market for years.
Experian has predicted that mortgage fraud losses could hit £2bn this year. And Bradford & Bingley has revealed it is setting aside £388.4m for potential losses on its mortgage book relating to fraud and professional negligence.
Borrower and solicitor fraud has always been up there in terms of the title insurance claims we process. But the increase in repossessions has led to a steady rise in the flow of these types of claims. Unless a concerted effort is made, I cannot see this changing. If anything, fraud could reach even greater levels when the economy is back on its feet again if we do nothing about it now.
Individual organisations have done much to combat fraud. Investigations by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority into solicitor fraud have saved lenders at least £15m. And the Land Registry has upped its anti-fraud activities, resulting in the prevention of fraud activity worth an estimated £20m.
All good stuff but operating in silos will never achieve the desired result in stamping out fraud. A joined-up approach, involving all sectors of the mortgage community, is the way forward.
So hats off to the NFA and let us all play our part to make it impossible for fraudsters to succeed.