HSBC will allow all solicitors accredited with the Law Society’s conveyancing quality scheme to act for the bank and its mortgage customers.
Previously, only firms on HSBC’s managed panel of conveyancers could act for both the borrower and the lender, with all other firms able to act for the borrower only.
The new arrangement will be introduced in August 2012.
In March, the Law Society warned estate agents were advising borrowers not to use HSBC because of its decision to cut its conveyancing panel to just 42 firms. While customers were free to choose their own solicitor, HSBC used a panel firm for its own legal work, which increased costs for borrowers and lead to delays in some cases.
Under the new system, HSBC mortgage customers can use one of the current managed panel firms, a CQS member that is not on the panel or choose their own firm of solicitors or conveyancers, in which case the borrower will pay £160 plus VAT for a panel firm to complete the legal work required by HSBC.
HSBC head of lending Martijn van der Heijden says: “We listened to feedback from customers and solicitors and, through working with the Law Society, can now agree to more solicitors acting for us.”
Coreco director Andrew Montlake says: “This is a marvellous U-turn from HSBC. The panel was basically an experiment that backfired.”