Thousands of British homeowners could be at risk of losing their homes as a result of potential widespread mis-selling of ‘interest-only’ mortgages, it has emerged today.
A report from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found that around 2.6 million ‘interest-only’ mortgage’s are due for repayment over the next 30 years, with one in 10 people having no plan to repay the loan.
It’s thought that banks failed to inform approximately 13% of borrowers that they would need to repay an average debt of £50,000 once their mortgage has ended.
Now the FCA, together with the mainstream media, are attempting to shift blame onto homeowners, citing the need for a ‘wake up call’.
By acting now we are aiming to nip this problem in the bud.
Mortgage lenders have volunteered to contact their most at-risk customers with a ‘wake-up call’ to highlight the report’s findings and what they need to do without delay.
Yes of course Marty, we can always trust the banks to do the right thing – recent history has shown us that, right?
So let’s take a look at that history, specifically the organisation who published the report – which is little more than the re-branding of the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
The FCA was created in 2013 as part of a new regulatory structure along with the Bank of England, after the FSA was abolished.
Now, the FSA has a troublesome track record when it comes to finance. It also has a history of protecting companies that have been found guilty of mis-selling.
Before we delve into the nitty-gritty, in December 2012 Andrew Bailey of the FSA warned that “banks are too big to prosecute” and that:
It would be a very destabilising issue. It’s another version of too important to fail.
Because of the confidence issue with banks, a major criminal indictment, which we haven’t seen and I’m not saying we are going to see… this is not an ordinary criminal indictment.
This tells us something about the mentality of the FSA, and the financial institute as a whole.
In 2005, the group turned a blind eye to payment protection insurance (PPI), taking very little action to prevent banks from profiting from the scam.
In 2008 they considered allowing banks to officially hide important information from the public.
Just months before the economic crash the FSA ignored warning signals from Northern Rock and allowed the bank to continue without a risk mitigation programme.
In 2008 it tried to protect the identity of the LAUTRO scandal. Also in 2008 the FSA staff received £20m in bonuses for 2008/09, despite self-acknowledged failures of regulating the financial industry.
In 2009 it was revealed that FSA deputy chairman, Sir James Crosby had fired Paul Moore, a whistleblower who warned of dangerous lending practices at HBOS.
I could go on, but I think we get the picture.
This demonstrates that, in reality, even those who are given the responsibility of protecting the British public from the criminal banking elite, only serve to protect the financial institutes and their corporate masters.