Mega-trade body: if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
The news that a majority (75 per cent) of CML members had voted to back a merger that will see the trade body subsumed into a ‘mega-trade body’ was met with some trepidation in the offices of Fleet Mortgages.
I will be completely honest and say that I have some concerns about this move and am worried it is an attempt by the larger lenders to save on trade body membership fees rather than being led by any strongly held ideals to create a more representative body for mortgage lenders.
In my opinion the CML is currently working at the top of its game and, certainly under the guidance of Paul Smee, has done an incredible job in terms of lobbying, research and membership activity. I cannot help worrying and fear that the past 20 years of the CML’s legacy are being destroyed for the wrong reasons – if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
This may seem like a lender-centric issue but in my opinion it affects the entire mortgage industry. Close co-operation between lender and adviser trade bodies is vital given their co-dependence and it is a relationship we should want to strengthen in order to develop the intermediary market.
Will we be able to do this if ‘mortgages’ becomes just another department within a larger trade body that may choose to prioritise and resource in other areas?
What about the valuable research, the training and the political and regulatory dialogue that the CML delivers for its members and all other stakeholders? Are we in danger of diluting this at a time when a quality mortgage-focused trade body has never been so needed?
The major lenders may see monetary benefits in this move but I suspect other lenders, and all those we work with, may ultimately lose out from a shift away from a mortgage-only focus. I fear a move to mega may not prove mega for most of us.
Bob Young, Fleet Mortgages
Q2 is set to excite and challenge us, just like Q1
For many intermediaries Easter was not the restful period of times gone by. In fact, its timing was symptomatic of a hectic period in the mortgage calendar.
However, we are now on the other side and, dare I say it, the waters look relatively calm. On reflection, the Budget brought little change within the mortgage market; the buy-to-let ‘stampede’ is behind us; the implementation of the MCD is firmly in place; and, despite question marks over our EU status, there could, just could, be a period of relatively plain sailing ahead for lenders and the intermediary community.
Not that this means it will be quiet. Activity within the housing market continues at a strong pace and, with a spring/early summer accelerant in the air, this is likely to keep us all on our toes and awash with a wealth of opportunities.
Market fundamentals underpinning the recovery remain fairly robust thanks to real wage growth and falling unemployment. The latest gross lending figures from the CML show yet more positive signs, with February demonstrating the highest lending total for any February since 2008.
Competition remains resilient within the mainstream and specialist mortgage markets and has been further buoyed by the pickup in remortgage activity.
Clearly the remortgage market is a key component in maintaining lending momentum. And, with many signs pointing in the right direction, I expect Q2 2016 to be an exciting, if still challenging, period.
But then again, what do you expect from the modern mortgage marketplace? Peace and quiet?
Jackie Uhi, Barclays
Both sides in EU debate use questionable tactics
In reaction to George Osborne’s claim that leaving the EU would cause mortgage rates to rise, these scare tactics may backfire on the Remain supporters because most lenders source their funds within the UK. There seems to be no substance to these pronouncements.
I am ambivalent about the EU but tend towards staying as I do not like much of the jingoism from Brexit proponents. As with the Scottish referendum, however, I object to waves of propaganda and, in some cases, disinformation being sprayed around. As John Lacey says, it may backfire because voters do not like being intimidated in this way.