The ex-mortgage sector manager quit the regulator last July after 16 years of employment and has been refused a remortgage by her lender of 20 years for insufficient income evidence.
MMR affordability rules bite
In an exclusive blog for Mortgage Solutions, Blackwell wrote: “Was this a taste of my own medicine? Sort of. I’ve now experienced for myself the impact of the MMR on the market – but not the impact of the rules themselves: there’s nothing in the rules that prescribes a minimum period of trading or the type of evidence of income I need.”
She continued: “What I like many others have experienced is the way the rules have been interpreted by the leading players who dominate the market and adopt a one-size-fits-all, highly risk averse approach, calibrated with a band width aimed at avoiding the regulator rather than helping customers.”
Blackwell said the aim of the MMR was to ensure lenders took ‘informed risks’ and not to ‘disregard the risks altogether’ as they did pre-credit crisis, after a thorough assessment of their circumstances.
She criticised lenders who are avoiding ‘taking any risks whatsoever, as seems to be happening today.’
On Friday last week, the regulator released the Mortgages Market Study which highlighted the plight of 30,000 solvent borrowers on a reversion rate but unable to remortgage due to tighter affordability checks post MMR.
Specialist lenders rode to rescue
Blackwell salutes the specialist lenders, which manually underwrite cases and enabled her to remortgage with just three months of income documentation.
“The policy was never to prevent the self-employed from getting a mortgage. It’s about making judgements and accepting risks – on my part just as much as the lenders. I fully understand the consequences should things not go as planned,” she said.
She also gave a special mention to her undisclosed broker.
“The whole end-to-end process was relatively painless and fast thanks to them. That specialist knowledge of the whole of the market and knowing who can help when you are in a non-standard position is invaluable,” she added.