Intermediary the most trusted in mortgage jungle

Brokers proved their worth by snatching half of the mortgage market last year, despite cheap direct deals

David Geale
David Geale, Acting sector leader, Financial Services Authority

After the major regulatory developments of last year, this is a good time to look forward to what 2011 has to offer.

The Mortgage Market Review will continue to attract most interest and debate in the area of regulation.

There are many different elements to this work and we issued a number of consultation papers last year, gathering views from the industry as we went along.

In June, we imposed tougher rules to ensure that borrowers in arrears were treated fairly. We also decided to extend the approved sellers.

I know many of you are disappointed that we have delayed implementation but I’d like to reassure you that we are committed to implementing the changes in 2012/2013.

In July, our Responsible Lending consultation paper attracted lots of interest and debate from all sectors, and the views differed greatly.

We received a huge number of responses and aim to set out our final proposals later this year.

The long-awaited consultation paper on Distribution and Disclosure was issued in November.

We have found that intermediaries often prefer to speak to us directly, so we’ve just completed a series of Mortgage Market Review road shows across the country to explain our proposals.

Discussions were lively and informative and our ideas were given a cautious thumbs-up.

If you haven’t already had your say, you still have time to respond. The deadline for responses is February 25.

So what will this year bring for intermediaries? We agree with other industry commentators that there is likely to be little change in mortgage lending volumes in 2011.

By restricting high-LTV loans, lenders continue to make it difficult for first-time buyers

We have all read about signs of a recovery in the remortgage market and there has been a slight increase in buy-to-let activity.

But by restricting high-LTV loans, lenders continue to make it difficult for first-time buyers and low interest rates still make remortgaging less attractive for existing homeowners.

Intermediaries have a vast amount of knowledge and access to a wide range of products.

It could be argued that their role has never been so important for consumers as they struggle to find the right mortgage. Our data shows this to be the case.

In 2010, 50% of all mortgages were sold by brokers, despite the fact that there were fewer intermediary firms and lenders were offering better priced and higher LTV products direct.

One thing is for sure – there will be more consultations and policy statements for you to read and comment on.

By the end of the year, we hope to have finalised our approach for future regulation of the UK mortgage market.

So watch this space – we will continue to keep you updated over the coming months. And remember to have your say by responding to our consultations.