The group assists industry in preparing for rule changes introduced in 2019 and to promote greater lending flexibility by firms. Read summaries of the group's meetings.
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On 26 March 2019, we published a consultation paper proposing changes to rules to reduce regulatory barriers to consumers who are up-to-date with payments, and not looking to borrow more, switching to a more affordable mortgage. The rule changes, which came in to force on 28 October 2019, aim to reduce the barriers to switching these consumers face now or could face in future.
The new rules allow mortgage lenders to undertake a modified affordability assessment for eligible consumers, and require lenders and mortgage administrators to notify certain categories of customers of the possibility that they may be able to switch.
In response to consultation feedback we set up an implementation group of trade associations, lenders, intermediaries, and third-party administrators. This group will assist the industry’s preparation allowing them to take advantage of the proposed modified assessments we announced last year. The remit of the group has subsequently expanded to also promote greater lending flexibility by firms not using the modified assessment.
This page will provide summaries of the group’s discussions after each meeting.
October 2020 Update: Extension to deadline for contacting customers
The coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis has meant that lenders have not been able to offer switching options for mortgage prisoners as quickly as originally anticipated.
We are pleased to see that some lenders have now started to offer switching options and support remortgaging for mortgage prisoners. We understand that more lenders will follow.
Our rules require administrators and inactive lenders to write to customers who may be eligible to make use of these switching options, letting them know that they may be able to switch their mortgage.
Some firms have started to send out these communications. However, we are aware that the delay in availability of switching options has caused the time available for sending out these communications to become compressed.
To help firms manage the operational challenge this presents we are extending the window during which we expect them to contact eligible customers about switching options by 6 weeks, to 15 January 2021. By reducing operational pressures on firms, this short extension will ensure better outcomes for mortgage prisoners.
May 2020 Update: Extension to deadline for contacting consumers
The coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis has had a significant impact on the mortgage market. Lenders have reported that they will be unable to offer a range of switching options or support remortgaging for mortgage prisoners as quickly as originally anticipated.
Our rules based on pre-Covid-19 conditions require firms to write to those who may be eligible letting them know they may be able switch their mortgage. However, given lenders’ inability to offer new switching options to mortgage prisoners it would be wrong to require letters to be sent to consumers at this time. We are therefore extending the window during which we expect firms to contact consumers about switching options by 3 months to 1 December 2020.
We do not want mortgage prisoners to receive communications encouraging them to switch, when there are no suitable products available for them. We will keep this under review alongside other measures to support mortgage borrowers and are committed to working with industry to see this product development happen as soon as practicable.
We are firmly committed to ensuring better outcomes for mortgage prisoners, and are working with the industry to ensure switching options are brought to market as soon as possible.
We issued guidance in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus. This guidance ensured a halt to repossessions, unless the borrower wanted to proceed, and that all borrowers had access to payment holidays where needed.
We have also written to mortgage lenders and administrators managing closed mortgage books about variable rates. This sets out our expectation that lenders critically review their variable rates of interest against their funding costs, contracts terms and any other factors that may apply and take any necessary action.
We will update on the planned arrangements for compiling a list of interested intermediaries in the coming weeks.
Objective and aims (updated in February 2020)
The objective of the implementation group is to:
- enable market-readiness for making use of the modified affordability assessment rules
- promote the availability of switching options for consumers who previously lacked these
To achieve the above objective the implementation group aims to:
- act as forum for market participants to discuss and facilitate the delivery of new switching options
- provide a channel for raising and resolving questions of interpretation regarding the modified affordability assessment rules
- address how the possible availability of switching options is explained to consumers
- keep under review increases in the availability of new switching options, including how this can inform consumer communications
- develop a cross-industry approach to ensuring successful consumer engagement on the availability of switching options
At the first meeting (2 August 2019) we explained that whilst initial membership was drawn from lenders and administrators there was a willingness for this to expand over time to other interested parties such as intermediaries. This has happened, so that the group members currently are:
- Building Societies Association
- UK Finance
- Association of Mortgage Intermediaries
- Hinkley and Rugby Building Society
- Ipswich Building Society
- Buckinghamshire Building Society
- Furness Building Society
- Tipton and Coseley Building Society
- West Bromwich Building Society
- OneSavings Bank
- UK Asset Resolution Ltd.
- Leeds Building Society
- Kensington Mortgages
- Yorkshire Building Society
- Link Asset Services
- Mortgages Plc
- Principality Building Society
- Key Advice
- John Charcol
- SimplyBiz Group
- Mortgage Advice Bureau
- United Trust Bank
- Charter Court
- Royal Bank of Scotland
- Lloyds Banking Group
- Nationwide Building Society
- Morgan Stanley
- Danske Bank
- Co-operative Bank
- Pepper Money