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European Legislation Hits The UK Mortgage

European legislation hits the UK mortgage market

Back in March 2011 the European Commission proposed a new directive on credit agreements for consumers secured on property, referred to as the European Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD). The new rules came into force on 21 March 2016, but what do they mean for you?

Protecting consumers

MCD introduces standardised conduct rules for firms selling first and second charge mortgages across the EU, designed to protect consumers taking out credit agreements relating to residential property.

The good news is that the UK already has a robust regulatory regime in place, which means the changes coming in under the MCD are relatively minor.

Mortgage Market Review (MMR)

In April 2014, the UK’s financial services regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introduced a number of significant changes to its rules around mortgage regulation, known as the MMR. These changes were designed to tighten the rules in a number of areas ensuring that irresponsible lending practices are stamped out of the mortgage market.

In fact, the introduction of the MMR means that many of the MCD’s requirements are already met, as the FCA were able to anticipate some of the emerging EU proposals through the recent MMR changes.

The most significant area of change is to the rules around second charge mortgage lending, meaning all lending secured on the borrower’s home will be regulated under the FCA mortgages regime.

Whilst the changes are relatively minor, there will be a few new issues that lenders and mortgage advisers will need to incorporate into their businesses, such as:

  • Changes to when and how you are told about the range of products that are on offer, any limitations in the services provided and how much mortgage advice will cost.
  • A new Mortgage Illustration which has additional information about the cost of the mortgage and an example of what would happen if rates rose to a 20 year high.
  • The introduction of a new mortgage offer that’s binding on the lender and a new seven day reflection period for the consumer.
  • A new approach to monitoring customers’ foreign exchange exposure, including where part or all of their income is in a foreign currency, other than Sterling.
  • A new classification of ‘Consumer Buy to Let’ mortgages to provide additional regulatory protection for ‘accidental landlords’ (people who did not buy the property with the intention of renting it out but ended up doing so).
  • Regulation of second charge lending.

Whether you are buying your first home, moving up or down the property ladder, purchasing an investment property or simply remortgaging, the process is often complex, time consuming and for many people daunting!


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