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Time to treat lenders fairly is over in this dog eat dog world

I am a hard-working broker and believe I offer my clients fair advice that is not misleading.

I’m even playing devil’s advocate at the moment by telling some clients to stay on their lenders’ SVRs rather than incur large fees by remortgaging. This is good advice even though it doesn’t earn me any money.

In this period of reduced business volumes I have looked for fresh opportunities and attempted to diversify where I can, while not losing sight of my core business of mortgage broking.

Then I was approached by a chap who works for a company that appeals against the credit contracts clients have signed, gets these debts cleared and sometimes gets compensation awarded.

I worried about doing this because, being typically British, I figured lenders must be having a rough time – should I really be seeking to give with one hand and take with the other?

Also, by my way of thinking, if a client has taken out a loan agreement a legal loophole does not compromise the fact that they accepted the money in good faith. It seems that it’s only when someone tells clients of the possibility that they appeal against contracts. In short, I thought this business unfair on lenders.

That was until a few things surprised me recently. First was the £9m being paid out in Northern Rock bonuses. The country is on its knees, we bail the lender out using taxpayers’ money and its staff walk away with bonuses? Wow.

Second, I had a client tell me about a product that was available direct from the Royal Bank of Scotland that I did not have access to.

Again, taxpayers’ money was used to bail out this group. Does that mean I helped pay for it to dual price me out of a deal?

Third, a well-known building society, despite all its clever advertising, has certain products that are for existing customers only – is that treating customers fairly? A lot has been said recently about the question of dual pricing and how this is short-sighted.

So if I once had any reservations about advising my clients to check their credit agreements, suffice to say they have now disappeared.

It’s a dog eat dog world these days, although I know that lenders have the power to change this and so does the Financial Services Authority.

Dual pricing has always been around but rather than put brokers out of business, why can’t we work together to try to resolve our problems?

I’m sure that everyone who owns a house and works for a bank has seen the price of their property fall, as I have. I’m not asking for miracles, just a level playing field – after all, we are all in the same game.

So lenders take note – at this rate you will end up driving professional brokers down a route they do not wish to travel.

Jamie Lewis

Director

Lime Financial Management

By email

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