The lender has been criticised for only having 43 firms on its panel.
However, HSBC says there are currently 33 firms in the process of joining the panel and more firms are welcome to join if they meet its criteria.
Van der Heijden says: “Our primary concern is to provide choice to our mortgage customers and for them to benefit from an efficient conveyancing service.
“We welcome all Law Society CQS-accredited firms onto the panel providing they can offer our customers the benefits we have introduced including competitive fixed fees, a no sale/no fee guarantee and electronic 24-hour case tracking.”
He has listed the criteria that firms must meet in order to be on its panel.
Principles that all firms must agree to:
- Fixed fees and any accompanying service proposition guarantees, e.g. no sale, no legal fees.
- Establish electronic links with the panel manager to facilitate case allocation and case tracking.
- Achieve accreditation with the Law Society of England & Wales CQS – England & Wales solicitor firms only.
- Agree to Solicitor Regulation Authority and CCJ checks.
- Registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.
- Established as a partnership, limited liability partnership or any other corporate structure as agreed by HSBC with a minimum of four regulated principles (if SRA regulated) or four managers of a recognised body (if CLC regulated) or a minimum of four company directors and a minimum of two licensed conveyancers or qualified solicitors.
- The panel firm entity should have been actively trading in purchase and sale conveyancing for at least six months and completed a minimum of 250 residential conveyancing transactions – excluding remortgages, over the previous two years on an ongoing basis.
- Have PII cover of at least £2m.
Firms wishing to apply should email CCSPanel@cwpl.com.
Meanwhile, Nationwide says firms that have undertaken fewer than four transactions for the building society will receive a letter from it informing them of their suspension from its conveyancing panel.
Nationwide has put in place an appeals process so that firms will be able to appeal if they are suspended from the panel.
To appeal, firms must be members of The Law Society’s CQS and demonstrate that Nationwide’s transaction numbers are unrepresentative of a firm’s conveyancing activity, or that while the firm’s transaction volumes are low, the firm meets a particular need that is important for the local or national market to retain.