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Exit probe is delaying watchdog’s decisions

The FSA’s investigations into mortgage lenders’ exit fees is forcing the Financial Ombudsman Service to delay its adjudication decisions on complaints.

The watchdog says it is waiting for regulatory guidance before proceeding with complaints and spokeswoman Emma Parker says: “The numbers are still low but we will wait for the FSA in some cases.”

The FSA met recently with Council of Mortgage Lenders’ executives, including director general Michael Coogan, in July to discuss the FSA’s next statement on exit fees, expected in the autumn.

Consumer body Which? blasted both sides after the CML revealed last week it had influenced the FSA to put a more positive spin on its last announcement in June.

Then, the FSA slammed lenders for unfairly increasing exit fees during contract terms and gave them a month to explain themselves.

A CML document on the subject says: “The FSA is in close liaison with the FOS on what issues should be covered in the next statement. A wider implication process has been triggered, under which FOS is seeking guidance before it makes decisions on complaints.”

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