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IMAB urges more responsible sub-prime lending

04 May 2007
Sub-prime mortgage lenders should be more responsible about setting lending criteria, a spokesperson for the Independent Mortgage Advice Bureau (IMAB) has said.

Lenders must take more responsibility when choosing which customers to lend to, checking what the customer will be able to afford by examining income, mortgage advisor Simon Beames stressed.

But he added that the intention to lend more responsibly is often counterbalanced by the need to compete with the opposition, which has driven the trend to "extend... affordability calculators quite considerably".

Still, Mr Beames conceded that when borrowers do go into arrears, lenders must try harder to help.

Sub-prime lenders should be "more flexible with the options when people do go into arrears", Mr Beames admitted, helping customers work through the options instead of leaping to take legal action.

Telling customers, "you're in your last chance saloon, we're closing the doors on you" will not help vulnerable individuals get back on their feet, he stressed.

According to Citizens' Advice, 70 per cent of the rise in repossession hearings between 2005 and 2006 at one county court in Kingston, Surrey, was attributable to the increased ease of sub-prime lending.

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