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‘Resilient’ mortgage industry has skills to survive Brexit – Young

by: Bob Young, chief executive officer of Fleet Mortgages
  • 17/12/2018
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‘Resilient’ mortgage industry has skills to survive Brexit – Young
The economic mood music around the UK’s future after it leaves the EU is decidedly downbeat.


Indeed, we might suggest it’s firmly in a minor key and distinctly sombre. However, as we all know only too well, that opinion need not be the right one.

I hesitate to mention the words ‘Project Fear’ at this juncture because it’s used by lazy, Leave-facing politicians to suggest any hint of negativity around Brexit is somehow uncalled for, unnecessary, or in some cases, unpatriotic.

I don’t believe that’s the case at all – everyone is after all entitled to an opinion – and just because you might have a view that the UK economy will suffer greatly because of our leaving of the EU, that in no way makes you some sort of traitor, as some would have you believe.

However, there’s also an argument to suggest that those who did predict economic Armageddon in the immediate post-referendum period, did not get it right.

Now you could suggest this was due to the measures the Bank of England put in place, the fact that we’ve not left the EU yet and so on.

But it’s still true to say that those who voiced that opinion back then, got it wrong.


Other opinions exist

And therefore there’s perhaps some merit to question a similar prevailing opinion now.

Just because there appear to be fewer people suggesting the UK economy will (eventually) benefit from leaving the EU, that doesn’t make it less likely.

As mentioned above, most people have not got the foggiest idea how this will all play out, and those that suggest they do, are bare-faced liars and/or politicians.

But, I think it’s important to understand that other opinions on this do exist, which might, for instance, differ from the Treasury or the Bank of England’s.

They may be a little more difficult to find, and in some cases, might seem easier to dismiss but there are economists willing to back a rather different future for the UK. I read two recently, from Roger Bootle at Capital Economics and Kallum Pickering at Berenberg, who see a positive future especially if a deal can be agreed.

Now currently that might seem like a big if, but there are of course those who firmly believe that the ‘doom-mongers’ will not be right even if there is no deal.

Again, it is almost impossible to say what will happen and there are few historical precedents to look back upon.


Looks for positives

Those who suggest similarities to the UK leaving the Gold Standard in 1931, or dropping out of the ERM in 1992, or choosing not to join the euro, seem to believe this momentous decision will be the UK’s making, not breaking, and point to similar strong period growths following these events.

For what it’s worth, I’m going to look for the positive here, especially in the mortgage market where most of us have the middle name ‘resilient’.

I might be wrong and it might be an utter disaster for the economy, but I’m also confident that whatever the outcome might be, our industry has the skills, talent and wherewithal to get through it and come out the other side.

And that’s no joke.


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