The group fears that selling the mortgages to companies that are not active market lenders “will create more mortgage prisoners, locking them into unfair rates.”
UK Mortgage Prisoners raised its concerns with the treasury before Christmas and received a reply on 7 January. However, the group said the response was “very troubling and worrying” and failed to address their concerns.
With the government set to go ahead with plans to sell the next book of UKAR mortgages to a non-lender, the group has decided that it’s time to speak out again.
The group said: “(Non-lenders) are not in competition with high street lenders so have no incentive to treat customers with the same respect and offer new products. This sale cannot go ahead in the manner in which is set out.”
UKAR was set up in 2010 to hold the mortgages belonging to Bradford & Bingley and Northern Rock Asset Management after the government was forced to nationalise the two firms which imploded in the financial crisis of 2007-08.
The government wants to return the mortgages to the private sector and its priority is getting value for the tax-payer.
Non-active lender will hurt borrowers
However, UK Mortgage Prisoners said selling the books to a non-lender fails to achieve this and point out that the thousands of people who will be left worse off by the sale are themselves UK tax-payers.
They say their group is growing, with momentum gathering behind the campaign, and report that the sale of UKAR mortgages has already inflicted considerable hardship on its members.
“Every day I’m responding to emails and messages of sheer desperation,” said Rachel Neale, a spokesperson for UK Mortgage Prisoners.
Neale said that, in extreme cases, some UKAR mortgage holders saw no way out other than suicide while “many others (are) selling personal possessions to enable them to make payments which are considerably higher than the average payment had they been able to transfer to a high street lender.”
In response, a spokesperson for the Treasury said: “The government and the regulators are committed to helping homeowners trapped on high interest-rate mortgages. That’s why, following new evidence, the FCA recently announced plans to change the rules to make it easier for people to switch to deals that are easier to pay.”
Asked for its views on the sale, a spokesperson for The Financial Conduct Authority said: “I’m afraid it’s not something we’ll be commenting on.”