The FSA is to bring enforcement action in a third of the 200 cases of suspected mortgage fraud it has been investigating.
Financial crime and intelligence division director Philip Robinson told a Council of Mortgage Lenders’ mortgage fraud seminar last week that the problem looks “bigger and more widespread” than previously thought.
Retail managing director Clive Briault had previously told delegates at the CML’s annual conference in December that more than 30 lenders had reported cases of suspected fraud to the regulator as part of its Information From Lenders project set up in 2006.
Robinson said: “Not many of these have seen the light of day yet but they will. Watch this space. It is a great start but it can be even better. The first step is to ask those lenders who have not yet taken part, why not? I know concerns have been voiced about not getting feedback which can show value for money and that is something we are committed to improving.
“I also know that some lenders who are taking part have concerns about allowing us to make full use of their evidence against brokers they suspect. That can have a significant bearing on the success of our investigations, so I very much hope that all lenders will give us the freedom to act on that evidence in the future so that more cases can reach the successful conclusion we all want.”
Robinson told lenders that if there are other factors getting in their way, then they should tell the FSA about it. He said: “The more participants, the stronger the intelligence and the better the results. It would be great for every lender to sign up.”
He said mortgage fraud is now on the FSA’s list of prior-ity risks and spoke of the threat of organised crime rings using mortgage and property fraud to make significant profits.
Robinson said his team is putting the intelligence from the 200 cases side by side with research into repossessions and possible fraud involving new builds from elsewhere in the FSA.
He said: “We are firming up and expanding our understanding and that is informing the creation of a control strategy to guide our work, both internally and with our partners. We will be looking to work with you, both lenders and intermediaries, to help us with that.”