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Mortgage prisoners picket offices of John Glen MP in attempt to force action

  • 15/10/2019
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Mortgage prisoners picket offices of John Glen MP in attempt to force action
A group of mortgage prisoners has demonstrated outside the offices of economic secretary to the Treasury John Glen MP demanding faster action to free them from their pricey loans.


The group travelled to Salisbury to confront Glen in person because he refused to meet with them despite numerous attempts to speak to him, according to a report in Salisbury Journal.

Glen is Conservative MP for Salisbury and South Wiltshire along with his role in the Treasury.

Mortgage prisoners are borrowers whose loans were sold to non-active lenders and who are unable to switch, owing to changes in affordability criteria or their circumstances — even though their monthly repayments would be made cheaper by doing so.

Many mortgage prisoners are trapped on relatively high standard variable rates while interest rates in the active mortgage market have been drifting lower.

Estimates peg the number of mortgage prisoners in the UK at between 150,000 and 200,000.

They include former Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley customers whose loans were sold by the Treasury to inactive lenders when the two firms crashed during the financial crisis. 

Speaking at the CityUK annual conference in June, Glen said: “When I came into post in January 2018, I was struck by the extent to which the financial crash still casts a shadow over the city. 

“I’ve placed a significant portion of my time seeking to rebuild trust between consumers and the financial services sector . . . working with regulators to help free mortgage prisoners.”


FCA consulting on changes

The Financial Conduct Authority began consulting in March on proposed changes to responsible lending rules and guidance.

The proposals on modified affordability assessments were broadly welcomed by professional bodies across the mortgage market, but were anticipated to help only 2,000 to 14,000 mortgage prisoners and have been criticised for the approach.

The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) urged the regulator and government to reconsider legislation that would help more mortgage prisoners but was abandoned in 2013. 

UK Finance and the Building Societies Association called for more data on mortgage prisoners to help focus policy and speed up implementation by lenders.

The final rules have yet to be enacted.


Hear our voice

Glen was contacted by Mortgage Solutions for comment.

He told Salisbury Journal:“It is complex because it requires bringing a lot of different stakeholders along but I am optimistic that a solution is close.”

More than a decade on from the crisis, the affected mortgage customers appeared to be running out of patience. 

They told Salisbury Journal: “We are UK taxpayers who have been struggling for 12 years on extortionate standard variable rates while the rest of the country has gone through austerity on low interest rates.

“We need action. We’re not going away and we’re here today to make sure John Glen hears our voice.”


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