In May 2018, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released its Mortgages Market Study Interim Report.
The FCA found that competition in the mortgage market is working well for many people, but also identified a number of ways in which the market could work better for some people. The FCA’s proposals are particularly aimed at helping customers find the best-priced suitable mortgage deal. The FCA also wants to help longstanding borrowers who are currently unable to switch to a better deal, often referred to as ‘mortgage prisoners’.
The Law Society has responded to the report. In our response, we note that the majority of lenders operate a panel-based system to select law firms to act on behalf of that lender in mortgage transactions. Some lenders employ a panel management company, such as Lender Exchange or Legal Marketing Services, to manage the panel on their behalf. However, lender panels and the way in which they operate are not addressed in this report. We believe that practices adopted by lenders give rise to factors that might affect how the mortgages market works for consumers, therefore those factors are relevant to the review and should be considered by the FCA.