The FCA estimates there are currently 200,000 mortgage prisoners in the UK. Some are trapped on interest-only mortgages with ‘inactive’ lenders. However, figures show that the number of interest-only mortgages had fallen by 54%, from 2.5 million in 2012 to 1.23 million in 2018 with regulated mortgage lenders committing to contacting all interest-only borrowers with loans due to mature at the end of 2020 to check repayment would be achievable or to find a new solution.
Last year the FCA relaxed some of its affordability checks, allowing lenders to assess affordability based on a borrower’s track record to make it easier for mortgage prisoners to find a new cheaper deal.
Capping lenders’ SVRs, which are a major factor for Mortgage Prisoners, has also been put forward by an all-party parliamentary group to help. There is currently no limit to how high a lender can set the standard variable rate and a cap of 2% above the Bank of England base rate for all SVRs would automatically see mortgage prisoners making instant savings of hundreds of pounds2.
In October 2020, Halifax began accepting remortgage applications of up to 75% LTV from mortgage prisoners, using the modified affordability assessment measures put in place by the FCA. Other lenders may take the same path, taking advantage of the change in FCA rules to try and make it easier for mortgage prisoners to switch to a cheaper deal. Recently, NatWest introduced lending criteria specific to mortgage prisoners and Santander started accepting applications from those trapped in expensive mortgages. The West Brom Building Society too is now implementing the new affordability rules with seven lenders in all starting to offer products.
How technology can help
At Mortgage Brain we understand the problems faced by mortgage prisoners and how hard it is for mortgage advisers to find suitable products for them. That’s why our product sourcing solutions MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere include a ‘mortgage prisoner’ filter to make it easier to find suitable remortgage products for those clients and help them to escape from a life sentence of expensive mortgage deals.
It’s as simple as adding the applicant and mortgage details, ticking the ‘mortgage prisoner’ filter and clicking ‘source now’. Then the adviser will be presented with a list of suitable products. To see the filter in action, watch the video for MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere
To find out more about Mortgage Brain’s suite of powerful solutions that together offer a seamless end-to-end journey from sourcing through to conveyancing, email email@example.com.