Industry adapts smoothly to regulation

Leading industry figures told delegates at the Council of Mortgage Lenders annual conference that the transition to statutory regulation has been a smooth one and that everyone will benefit from the Financial Services Authority regime.

Stuart Bernau, commercial and treasury director of Nationwide, gave his opinion on the mainstream market sector.

He told the audience: “Though increased documentation makes the mortgage process long and cumbersome for the consumer, it is they who will benefit in the long run from a large amount of lenders chasing a smaller amount of business.

“The enormous amount of training required to prepare everyone for Mortgage Day has meant that things like product development have taken a back seat, but there is a more highly-skilled workforce as a result.”

Steven Crawshaw, chief executive of Bradford & Bingley, welcomed statutory mortgage regulation but said that alongside depolarisation, forthcoming insurance regulation and an ever-growing complaints culture, pressures on the intermediary were mounting.

Kensington Mortgages chief executive John Maltby spoke on behalf of the sub-prime sector and urged intermediaries to adapt to the changing landscape in the industry.

He told delegates: “If things get tougher, we have to use what experience we have retained from previous challenges.

“The past isnt always particularly useful for predicting the future. One thing that is sure however, is that sub-prime is here to stay.”

John Heron, chief executive of Paragon Mortgages, covered the buy-to-let sector, an area currently outside the FSAs remit.

While praising the CML for its lender and landlord surveys, Heron called on those in the buy-to-let market to improve standards of management, produce clearer information and help develop the profile of the sector.