The mortgage industry in the UK needs to take direct action now if it is to prosper in the European Union, according to business lawyers, Eversheds, writes Ben Marquand.
Wilfred Aspinall, European advisor to Eversheds said that UK lenders are facing a growing threat from European legislation because they are not taking a proactive role in the planning process.
Lenders have not realised this legislation could have a negative effect on their business. Aspinall said that in the near future it is probable that that a single European Financial Services Authority will be set up to supervise cross border transactions, and mortgage lenders will then have to comply with rules imposed both by the UK FSA and the new European regulator.
Aspinall said: “Laws are being passed in Europe that will effect lenders here. Other European financial services industries have realised this however the UK is not having enough influence on those who decide the laws in Europe.”
One such example is the European White Paper on e-commerce in financial services, which will be launched in November. It will have a direct effect on how UK and European lenders operate online.
The paper will cover how lenders deal with everything relating to mortgages, from contents insurance to consumer redress.
However UK lenders are showing little enthusiasm to contribute their ideas to the development process.
This legislation will effect the way in which mortgage business is conducted and similar legislation is continually being introduced by the European Commission and subsequently implemented in the UK.
Michael Bolton, sales and marketing manager at Future Mortgages, believes that as an industry the UK has been too complacent.
“I think that in our market, we are guilty of completely disregarding Europe.
“We still do not see Europe as posing any interference with our specific market, but looking ahead I can see that it will,” he said.
Rod Murdison, proprietor of Murdison and Browning Mortgage Brokers, said: “IFAs and mortgage brokers have never had a body that everyone belongs to and which gets their views across to the decision makers. I think this is why we are vulnerable to adverse laws at both domestic and European level.”