Help for mortgage prisoners needed as ‘a matter of urgency’
Speaking at the industry conference, Mr Woolard said: “The voluntary agreement agreed earlier this year allows customers of active lenders to switch if they meet standard criteria. We believe this is an important step forward. But the devil is in the detail. We are keen to see what impact this agreement has, and to see all lenders able to participate doing so. There is a potential group of at least 10,000 customers this may help.
“The question of customers of inactive or unregulated lenders is a harder nut to crack. We have identified about 20,000 customers in the closed books of authorised lenders, and a further 120,000 customers whose mortgages are held by firms that are not authorised, who may be able to benefit from switching.
“We have put the challenge to industry to help these consumers and are leading an industry working group to deliver on that as a matter of urgency. This is a complex issue, one that will require creativity from us and a coordinated effort from you. But the objective is clear – to see if, between us, we can help these customers to benefit from being able to switch to another lender.”
He later added: “We have the answer for authorised firms. I want to see an answer in the unauthorised space. If need be, we will also discuss with Government whether a change in our regulatory perimeter or any other Government support is needed to protect those customers where mortgages are transferred to the unregulated sector. It simply isn’t an acceptable argument to hide behind the intricacies of our regulatory perimeter when real families are involved.”