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Equity release lender shelves product over affordability checks

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Equity release lender More2Life has withdrawn its Interest Choice interest-paying product due to affordability checks brought in with the Mortgage Market Review.

The lender told Money Marketing sister publication Mortgage Strategy the tests had a “negative impact” on the product.

Lifetime mortgages that involve consumers paying interest became subject to affordability checks under the MMR in 2014.

The Equity Release Council says this deters possible customers who could be rejected under the tougher rules.ty

More2Life managing director Dave Harris says: “We were one of the first lenders to champion interest serviced plans in the UK, and it was a very popular product option offering clients flexibility to repay any amount of interest they wanted to.

“Unfortunately, the MMR had a negative impact on this plan (and other interest serviced plans) because of the introduction of affordability tests.

“We have taken the decision to remove this plan from our shelves for the time being while we redesign it. In doing so we are also taking on board feedback from advisers as to what features we should be including on a future version of Interest Choice.”

The FCA said earlier this year it was reviewing regulation with a view to dropping affordability requirements on interest-served lifetime mortgages.

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Last week the regulator put out a consultation paper saying it planned to relax these rules.

Retirement Advantage equity release head of marketing Alice Watson says: “We’re disappointed to see the withdrawal of More2Life’s interest paying lifetime mortgage, because there is not any lack of demand for this type of product.

“As the equity release market continues to grow and innovate, it is critical that the broadest possible range of product options are available for customers.

“The Equity Release Council’s most recent report into the sector noted the innovation around interest paying options, and we believe that products which can help overcome concerns about the impact of interest roll-up should continue to be part of the mix as the market goes from strength to strength.”

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