MBE Manchester: FSA denies MMR cause of drop in lending

The Financial Services Authority’s manager of mortgage policy Lynda Blackwell has dismissed suggestions that the Mortgage Market Review is responsible for a drop in lending levels and a more risk-adverse market.

Some industry commentators have previously criticised lenders for implementing parts of the MMR before the FSA has introduced its final rules, especially in interest-only lending, where lenders have significantly tightened their criteria.

In the past five years, gross lending has fallen from around £363bn in 2007 to around £140bn last year.

Speaking in a seminar at the Mortgage Business Expo in Manchester today, Blackwell says the MMR is not to blame for this but it is due to the fact lenders are struggling to obtain funding.

Blackwell says: “Even though we have yet to publish our policy position and final rules we often read that it is the MMR that has caused lenders to curtail their lending and that it is the MMR that is causing lenders to be excessively cautious.

“It is all too easy to his behind the MMR but the reality is that with funding so much thinner on the ground, lenders are of course going to use this to support high quality lending.”