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Boulger says FSA sleeping on job over ‘predatory’ arrears charges

John Charcol senior technical manager Ray Boulger has accused the FSA of “sleeping on the job” by not clamping down on lenders charging hefty fees to borrowers in arrears.

At a Treasury select committee evidence session on mortgage arrears last week, Which? called for the FSA to name and shame lenders hitting customers with excessive charges.

Which? is calling for charges to be suspended if a borrower has agreed to pay off their arrears and also for the FSA and the Office of Fair Trading to review all arrears charges.

Boulger says: “Lenders should not be abusing their situation when people are in arrears. They are acting in a predatory manner. The FSA has had four-and-a-half years to sort these fees out. It is an indication that the regulator is partly asleep on the job.”

Which? principal policy adviser Dominic Lindley says: “Despite lenders pledging sympathy with their mortgage customers, many are hitting people in arrears with seemingly excessive charges.”

FSA director responsible for the mortgage sector Lesley Titcomb says: “It is unacceptable that some firms are applying fees unfairly and pushing customers towards repossession without considering alternatives. Proper handling of arrears is still a high priority for us.”

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