Last year the group raised over £500 from among its own members, with no industry or external donations, to offer the grocery vouchers to 10 families in need the chance to be added to a fully automated draw.
The link can be found on the UK Mortgage Prisoner’s website here, offering a QR code to donate through Paypal, with the hope of raising far more this year
The group runs hardship raffles twice a year at Christmas and Easter to help its members and has never had industry support to raise funds or promote its efforts.
UK Mortgage Prisoners began campaigning in 2018 and is run by a team of three volunteers who have lived experience of being mortgage prisoners. The group is run from its limited company offices on Princes Street in Ipswich.
A spokesperson said the needs of the group have grown from campaigning and combined letter writing to MPs, regulators, and lenders, to protests, to offering words of comfort to help members through the ‘darkest of times.’
The group said: “For five years, we have developed casework, helping mortgage prisoners who have very often reached their capacity in dealing with the often driven, hard, unthoughtful communications from the non-lenders dealing with their mortgages. We have saved countless homes, repossessions, family break-ups, unfavourable situations, and put customers back on the right path to move forward in managing their mortgages”.
Victory for mortgage prisoners’ group
In a victory for the mortgage prisoners’group and the All Party Parliamentary Group involving cross-bench MPs, last week, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) obliged the Co-operative Bank to redress mortgage borrowers who were charged increasing standard variable rates (SVRs) over a historic three-year period.
The Ombudsman confirmed its decision that the Co-operative Banking group’s subsidiary Mortgage Agency Services No.5 (MAS5) “treated customers unfairly” by increasing the SVR from 2.99 per cent to 5.75 per cent over the period 2009 to 2012.
Last year, the group took the FOS to court to challenge whether it had the right to investigate the increased SVR charged to mortgage borrowers on its closed book. This was later dismissed by the High Court.
MAS5 claimed that the four increases to the SVR reflected the changing cost of funds, but the FOS found that “the evidence doesn’t show that there were changes in the overall costs MAS5 was liable itself to pay for the funds that it used”.
It added: “As a result, the changes to the SVR MAS5 made between 2009 and 2012 – which collectively added 2.76 per cent to the SVR – were not made for reasons permitted by the contract.”
The FOS concluded: “The evidence shows that MAS5’s cost of funding did not increase.”
Several reports of the mistreatment of vulnerable people have been passed to the FCA for investigation.