We are not crying wolf, says CML

Matthew Wyles, chairman of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, says the trade body is not crying wolf in its opposition to the Financial Services Authority’s Mortgage Market Review.

In his opening speech at the CML’s conference this morning, Wyles, who is also group distribution director at Nationwide Building Society, told delegates that it is not over egging the potential effects of the MMR’s proposals.

He says: “As the CML has said on many occasions now, it isn’t the fact that conduct business rules are being reformed that concerns us. It’s the layer upon layer of additional requirements that is making the great overall regulatory edifice too big and unwieldy.

“I’m sure the FSA doesn’t mean to exclude great crowds of borrowers from the market, or reduce the reasonable borrowing capacity of responsible households to meet their housing needs.

“And I’m sure the FSA genuinely believes that we are over egging these potential effects. But I can confidently assert that we are not crying wolf.”

He says the CML wants to get the balance right for lenders, brokers and consumers.

Wyles says the industry is likely to have done around £137bn in gross lending and £9bn in net lending by the end of 2010. Only 160,000 first-time buyers were provided mortgages over the period and he adds that capital and liquidity requirements were already driving lenders to adopt risk averse strategies.

He says despite Lord Turner’s call for a public debate on the FSA’s proposals nobody has yet to step forward.

He says: “The CML has been one of the few bodies really prepared to put its money where its mouth is and engage in that debate.”

He says the housing minister and the financial secretary were both invited to the CML conference today but both declined.

Wyles says the industry is no longer on the brink of a financial abyss, but in other ways it feels like too little has changed since the CML conference this time last year.

He says: “Today feels like Groundhog day.”