The Mortgage Code Compliance Board (MCCB) is consulting on implementation of specific rules for member companies’ complaints procedures. It has issued a consultation on the proposed amendments to registration rules for 2002/03, which includes an addition to Rule 5 ‘ which states each company must have a procedure to handle any complaints ‘fairly and speedily.’
This rule gives little specific obligation to refer unresolved complaints to the Mortgage Code Arbitration Scheme (MCAS), or any other arbitration scheme, and some firms have taken advantage of this, according to the MCCB.
February’s MCCB newsletter said: ‘There have been a number of occasions where intermediary firms have initially refused to refer unresolved complaints to MCAS. The opportunity is being taken to clarify the wording of the rules to refer specifically to membership of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or other ombudsman or arbitration scheme approved or prescribed by the MCCB from time to time.’
The consultation proposals also include minimum requirements for a complaints process. In light of future regulation these are based on the FSA’s requirements.
Any comments on the rule changes need to reach the MCCB before 15 March and the rule revisions would become effective on 1 May. Brad Baker, MCCB’s communications manager, said: ‘The advisory group, including intermediary and lender representatives, has already considered the proposals, but we take great notice of comments from firms. We do want to hear from firms who have a view.’
The MCCB’s proposed rules:
• That a complaint is acknowledged within five business days.
• That there be a final response or a holding response if resolution is not possible within 20 business days.
• If the complaint is not settled within 40 business days, the complainant will be informed of their right to refer the complaint to the relevant ombudsman or arbitrator.
• Firm’s submit a yearly report to the MCCB detailing the type and number of complaints received.
• Records of complaints must be held for three years from receipt of the complaint.