Lloyds TSB and Abbey lead the way with repossession policies

24 November 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
Lloyds TSB and Abbey have become the first high street lenders to openly discuss their mortgage arrears policy ahead of the Pre-Budget report and following the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) repossession figures.

According to the latest CML statistics, home repossessions in the UK have increased by 12 per cent in just three months, sparking calls for more regulation, and rumours that Darling will announce measures to combat this in his Pre-budget Report.

In response to rising repossession figures, the Ministry of Justice recently announced a number of measures, including a court protocol, aimed at helping those at risk of defaulting on their mortgages and losing their homes.

The measures stress that repossession must be the very last resort and that lenders must have discussed alternatives with the borrower in mortgage arrears, and be able to prove this in court.

Since then, both Abbey and Lloyds TSB have openly discussed their mortgage arrears policies. Joy Griffiths, managing director of Lloyds TSB mortgages, said:

"We continue to do everything we can, especially in this difficult economic climate, to help our customers' mortgages remain affordable.

"We urge any customer having difficulty to contact us as soon as possible so we can discuss their situation and agree on a solution."

And, according to Abbey, it has a lower level of mortgage arrears than the CML average as a result of its responsible approach to lending. In a statement released in response to the CML repossession figures and the Government's new measures, Abbey said:

"We have already invested in extra resource in this area to allow greater levels of proactive contact with every customer who goes into arrears.

"We also debit any fees associated with the litigation process at a later stage, to allow customers a chance to agree a repayment plan first and avoid paying these on top of what they already owe."

However, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable fears that these measures will not be practiced by all mortgage lenders: "There is a real danger that Government proposals to prevent repossessions have not gone far enough.

"Following this month's landmark ruling there is a danger that some unscrupulous lenders will simply bypass the courts."

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