Lenders are talking with technology providers to develop a solution where they can evaluate brokers on an individual basis.
Presently, lenders have information at a firm level but sources say a group of lenders has started talks to find a way of validating individual brokers.
It is thought the lenders, the identities of which are not yet known, want to check whether brokers have the relevant qualifications, have a criminal record and have any debt judgements against their name. Their aim is to create a central database with each of the lenders involved having access to it.
Association of Mortgage Intermediaries chief executive Robert Sinclair says: “Ami is aware certain firms are looking at a process where they can reduce their costs by looking at who they have on panel. We have yet to be provided with any details about how this will work but will welcome dialogue in due course.”
The talks were born out of the FCA’s decision not to introduce individual registration. However, sources say the aim of the discussions is not to replicate the individual registration scheme promised by the FCA in the first Mortgage Market Review paper in 2009. They insist it is not a register of people authorised to work in the industry but instead a way of learning more about who they have on panel.
The FCA said it had indefinitely postponed the introduction of individual registration of mortgage brokers in February 2012. In March this year, it decided not to include brokers in its approved persons regime, although it said it would revisit the issue if it felt it was needed. However, bank advisers were brought into the certification regime.
Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association executive director Peter Williams supports individual registration of mortgage brokers and says he wants to see progress on the issue.
He adds: “[Imla] is aware that a number of suppliers have been considering initiatives. The recent FCA statement regarding the senior managers regime pushed this agenda further back and Imla felt this was unhelpful given that the agenda has been live for the past five years.”
Sesame managing director of mortgages John Cupis, whose network once offered to take the industry lead on developing individual registration when the FCA decided not to, says: “Lenders will say that the burden of managing mortgage fraud would be helped if you could identify the occasional individual bad apple in a firm, rather than the whole firm.
“Wouldn’t it be great if there was just one register, like doctors, dentists and solicitors have, to be licenced to trade?”