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Partner Louise Power highlights key news items for lenders north and south of the border.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its Mortgages Market Study final report on new lending rules designed to help the market work better. Overall, the study concludes that the mortgage market is working well, but that the market could work better if:

  • it was easier for consumers to find the right mortgage;
  • there was a wider range of tools providing consumers with a choice about the support (including advice) that they receive;
  • consumers were better able to choose an intermediary on an informed basis; and
  • consumers to be able to switch more freely to new deals without undue barriers.

Alongside the final report, the FCA is consulting on proposed changes to help so-called ‘mortgage prisoners’ [1] to switch to a more affordable mortgage.  The proposals include the ability for lenders to choose to undertake a modified affordability assessment where a consumer who is up-to-date with payments on an existing mortgage is looking to switch.  The consultation, which concludes on 26 June 2019, can be accessed here.

Specifically in Scotland, the Scottish Affairs Committee has begun its inquiry into access to financial services in Scotland following a finding by Which? that a third of Scottish banks have closed since 2010.  In its initial evidence session, the Committee focused on the impact these closures are having on communities and business across Scotland, and which areas have been most affected.  More widely, the Committee will look at:

  • What challenges are there to accessing financial services in Scotland?
  • What impact have recent bank branch closures, and the changes in ATM
    funding, had on access to financial services in Scotland?
  • How practical are alternative methods of accessing financial services,
    such as online banking or mobile branch banking?
  • What impact has reductions to the interchange fee had in Scotland?
  • How effective is the Financial Inclusion Programme, at ensuring access to cash
    is available in more remote areas?
  • How effective have financial services regulators been, in ensuring
    continued access to financial services in Scotland?

Walker Morris will monitor and report on key developments.


[1] See our earlier briefing for further information.