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FSA fines two firms and bans a third for sub-prime failings

The FSA has fined two mortgage firms and banned a third for sub-prime failings, following its investigations into the sector.

The FSA has fined The Loan Company trading as Greenhill Finance £31,500 and Next Generation Mortgages Limited £10,500.

It has also stopped Homebuyer Securities Limited from trading.

The FSA says that both TLC and NGM failed to correct record keeping failings identified during FSA visits in 2005. They also did not gather adequate customer information to assess affordability or support the mortgage recommendations made.

TLC did not adequately train its staff, failed to monitor or review client files properly and gave customers inconsistent information about the key features of the product.

NGM could not demonstrate why recommendations were made and it failed to explain the details or risks of recommended mortgages to customers.

Meanwhile, banned broker HSL did not ensure that all of its advisers were qualified to give mortgage advice.

NGM has agreed to stop selling self-certification mortgages, which require verification of income by lenders, due to FSA concerns and HSL has agreed that its director will never work as a mortgage broker again.

All three firms have been required to conduct a past business review to identify whether customers have suffered losses as a result of receiving unsuitable advice.

FSA Director of Enforcement Margaret Cole says: “Firms who do not comply with FSA standards taint the entire mortgage industry which is totally unacceptable. Any firms who place their customers at risk of receiving unsuitable advice through inadequate business processes can expect strong action from the FSA. Firms must ensure they have appropriate systems to protect their customers.

“There are a number of actions we can take against firms and individuals which includes fines, public censures or stopping firms and/or individuals from doing business. In addition to these penalties we can also instruct a firm to conduct a detailed and lengthy review of their clients’ files. This will establish if any customers are owed redress and could cost firms many thousands of pounds.”

TLC and NGM agreed to settle at the first stage of the FSA’s investigation therefore qualifying for a 30 per cent discount. Were it not for this discount their fines would have been £45,000 and £15,000.

The failings at TLC occurred during June 2005 to November 2006, between June 2005 and January 2007 at NGM and between October 2004 and February 2007 at HSL.

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