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Cause for complaint

I recently listened to an address by the AMI’s Chris Cummings, someone who is closely involved in the mortgage market. He quoted some interesting statistics. There are 37,000 mortgage intermed-iaries. In 2003, there were just 98 complaints against them, of which 49 were upheld.

This tells us a few interesting things. First, such a small ratio of complaints to practitioners must surely indicate that mortgage regulation under the MCCB has worked well, without costing a fortune or burying practitioners under mountains of paperwork.

It also tells us that the complaint system works, because a reasonable but not huge proportion of the complaints were upheld and, presumably, dealt with fairly speedily as the system itself was not overloaded.

A 50-50 mix between upheld and rejected complaints seems to me to be a reasonably healthy ratio.

The people at Canary Wharf have obviously placed a rather different interpretation on things. One can imagine someone crying hoarsely at an FSA meeting: “Only 98 complaints? That’s not nearly enough. Customers in the mortgage market obviously need far more education about their rights. The mortgage market needs proper regulation and the only way it is going to get that is with the FSA.”

“Hear, hear”, call several colleagues. “We need more levies, bigger budgets, more staff, more regulation, more office space, more claims, more compliance inspectors, more reviews (especially reviews ~ shall we say all cases transacted over the past 10 years?).It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it.”

Julian StevensWDS, Bristol

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