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Govt to appoint minister to stop age discrimination in mortgage lending

The Government will appoint a minister to stop lenders unfairly discriminating against older borrowers if it wins the next election.

Ros Altmann, the Government’s older workers’ champion, will be made a peer and appointed as a minister responsible for financial consumer protection and education, if the Conservatives are in government after the election.

Part of Altmann’s remit will be to improve rights for older consumers, especially in the mortgage market.

She will also lead a review of the pension reforms, including the future of the Money Advice Service and whether a charge cap should be introduced on pension products.

Altmann says: “I have worked so hard for so many years to help ordinary pension savers and expose injustice. I’ve been calling for financial fairness and trying to make pensions and savings work better for ordinary people.

“I hope I will now have a chance to ensure customers are treated more fairly, and are better educated, informed and protected.”

Prime Minister David Cameron says: “What we’re doing is taking the country’s leading expert on pensions, on savings, on financial education, Ros Altmann, and saying that if we’re re-elected, she’ll be at the heart of government, making sure we complete this great revolution where we’re giving people much more power to save, to access their pension, to pass their pension on to their children, because we want to create a real savings culture in our country for everybody. Not for the rich at the top, but for everybody who saves or has a pension.”

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  • Grey Haired Underwriter 23rd April 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Am I the only one who is disturbed by the recent FOS ruling on age discrimination and now the concept of appointing a minister who will become involved in lending to the older applicant? The FCA made their feelings about lending into retirement very clear whenever their representatives attended pre-MMR seminars and the PRA also seem to have concerns over this type of lending. So is it the case that the Regulators are giving warnings about this type of lending whilst other parties are trying to dictate a lender’s lending policy. Are we now in a situation where those not responsible for the lending are trying to write the rules or is it possible that we might just be able to make our own lending decisions?
    The bottom line here is that once again we see contradictory information and are being threatened with fines for making what may well be extremely prudential decisions. Just because they don’t suit the applicant doesn’t mean they are wrong. I wonder if the new minister will be happy to pay out compensation or cover the cost of fines levied if a lender is forced to offer funds that it would otherwise not do so.
    I am not defending some lenders’ attitudes towards the older borrower although they present a completely different risk profile than the majority of applicants but I certainly do not like a scenario where a third party who is not assuming the risk is dictating the rules.
    As regards the FOS ruling I am also bound to ask that since when has FOS had the right to tell a lender when they may or may not lend. This is a new and very disturbing development and, in my opinion, bodes badly for the mortgage industry.

  • Freddie 23rd April 2015 at 10:28 am

    “ …..we’re giving people much more power to save “ The only way to do that is give savers a better deal yet in an online Telegraph article on 2nd March’15 the wondrous Cameron said that a future Conservative government will “keep mortgage rates low” so that homeowners can “go to bed with real peace of mind”. The two views do not coincide.
    Also in that telegraph article … “ The Prime Minister said that maintaining low borrowing costs would be the first priority of the Conservative’s housing policy. He attributed Britain’s historically low interest rates of 0.5 per cent, set independently by the Bank of England, to the Government’s deficit reduction program.”
    As it is the BOE that controls the interest rate, what relevance is there in saying the Gov’t will keep interest rates low ?

    Additionally is that the same deficit reduction programme that means we now owe more than we did 5 years ago ?

  • Michael Wells 20th April 2015 at 4:05 pm

    It maybe that the lender is not being discriminatory just prudent.

    The average age of death in the UK varies geographically between 72 and 83 (rounding the numbers) for men and 79 and 87 for women according to ONS.

    Why would a lender want to lend to somebody who may well be dead before the term expires and leave them the hassle of selling the property?

    I’m playing devils advocate here because of course I could probably dig out statistics for the average Joe Snows likelihood of death in their mid 30s.

    Lending, like most businesses, is about risk and reward and they should be free to make their own business decisions.

    I think that the political parties are jumping on a bandwagon of the medias making although MMR is partly responsible for the new rules and lenders are terrified of falling foul of the rules.

    Of course many lenders used to lend beyond 75 and several still do but the maximum age reduction started long before MMR came into play.

    There were many ‘specialist’ lenders who no longer exist who looked outside the box.

  • Disillusioned Broker 20th April 2015 at 11:26 am

    Not before time. A mortgage should be about ability to pay, not age. Ideally we would all prefer not to have a mortgage in our pension years, but the reality is sometimes different.

    We have enacted legislation to ensure workers are not put on the scrap heap at the state retirement age, by why is it somehow acceptable to discriminate against someone aged over 75, as long as appropriate advice has been made and the clients understands the consequences of having the mortgage.

    A pensioner with a guaranteed pension in my view is a better bet to a lender than an employee with a monthly payslip that maybe taken away by tomorrow, with no guarantee that a new employer will come along and with meagre benefit provision.