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FOS warns over unauthorised UK mortgage lender

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The Financial Ombudsman Service has had dozens of complaints about an unauthorised bank that falsely claims to pay off mortgages for a £10 monthly fee.

The Daily Mail reports that customers of WeRe Bank, based in Manchester, face reposession, late payment fees or wrecked credit records by dealing with the bank.

The firm told customers for a small monthly payment and the pledge of £150,000 over 10 years they would get a chequebook in the made-up currency ‘Re’.

WeRe claims lenders are obliged to write off debt when they get one of the cheques, under the Bills of Exchange Act 1882.

But lenders are refusing to accept the cheques. The FOS has warned consumers of the dangers of dealing with the firm.

The newspaper reports one man faces having his home repossessed after attempting to pay off a £67,000 mortgage with The Mortgage Works with a WeRe cheque.

The Mortgage Works refused and the borrower turned to the FOS, but the ombudsman ruled the cheque was not worth the paper it was written on.

WeRe could not be reached for comment and its website appears to have been taken down.

In September last year the FCA issued a warning about the bank.

It said: “Although WeRe Bank refers to itself as a bank, based on the information currently available to us, it does not appear to be carrying on any activities that would require it to be authorised by the FCA. Regulated activities carried out by authorised firms include accepting deposits or providing advice on regulated investments.

“We are concerned that vulnerable consumers may be attracted to WeRe Bank’s claim that they will be able to pay off their debts ‘for free’ using Re cheques, even though they have not had to pay any money into an account.”

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Comments

There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Another example of where the term ‘vulnerable’ is used as a substitute for ‘hopelessly stupid’.

  2. There is an operational website – http://www.werebank.co.uk. I accessed it via FaceBook on a very old browser (I’m no IT expert so I don’t know if that makes any difference).

    Having read through the absolute garbage on the site, I struggle to understand how anyone, even desperate clients, could be fooled into engaging with this mob.

    It makes the arguments associated with Scientology seem cogent, intelligent and well thought through.

    However, if there are clients being scammed by this, it is high time that someone (not neccesarily FCA) to get this shower shut down.

  3. Thanks for pointing this out Ian – I see the website is working now. I’ll give them a call.

  4. @ Sam Barker – would you mind letting me know how the call goes, please.

  5. Neil Liversidge 30th March 2016 at 5:17 pm

    So these people think they can clear a debt they knowingly incurred with a worthless cheque? I don’t have any sympathy. They are in the same league as those who get conned trying to help supposed Nigerian government officials and Gadaffi’s supposed heirs launder money on the backs of emails promising a half share in a billion dollars. I have the perfect solution for the FOS: Buy a We Re chequebook for £10 and use it to compensate the complainants. As these idiots think the bak should accept a We Re cheque I don’t see why they should object if somebody gives them one. Maybe the FOS can buy a second We Re chequebook for Mark Neale at the FSCS while they’re at it.

  6. Ah! But don’t forget these are exactly the sort of brainless numpties that form the client template of the Regulator and for whom they and the bleeding heart brigade formulate policy. And you wonder why you are overburdened with regulation.

  7. If it sounds too good to be true………………………stupidity is not something we can regulate against!

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