AMI Chief Executive Robert Sinclair gives his February update, discussing the latest issues in the industry and how we can tackle them…
The Government and the Treasury Select Committee have been increasing pressure on the FCA to do more to help borrowers trapped on SVR or what some might consider to be penal rates of interest often as a result of their loan being sold to an asset manager. This has been a campaigning point for AMI for some years and we got traction last year when we combined with Martin Lewis and MoneySavingExpert during the party conference season. We are now working with FCA and other trade bodies to see what can be done to assist. We need to ensure that consumers end up with a genuinely better deal that is not another trap and that brokers who advise on these are also not open to any later criticism or sanction. We will ensure the interests of brokers and lenders are protected in any new processes.
We are also remaining vigilant on the costs coming out of the FSCS. The announcement that they had received hundreds of claims for poor debt consolidation advice given by The Mortgage Matters Partnership was a surprise, but we are talking to them to ensure they recognise that any compensation should only relate to relative interest costs not the capital advanced. It is important that firms should only compensate for the advice on the refinancing solution not the debt advanced originally. Responsible lending is not an intermediary accountability.
Finally I have been troubled to hear of some brokers who have recently been taken off panel by a lender and accordingly also lost their jobs. In dealing with product transfer cases they had made calls to lenders pretending to be the customer and giving instructions. Whilst this may have been in the customer’s interest this is an unacceptable practice and cannot be condoned. Please ensure that you always have appropriate authority to act. Many lenders’ systems have controls and authentication processes that make such activity relatively easy to detect.