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Pain defends the specialists

FSA retail markets managing director Jon Pain has defended specialist lenders, saying they offer access to the mortgage market for many borrowers who would otherwise be excluded.

At a Treasury select committee mortgage arrears evidence session on Tuesday, Labour MP Jim Cousins questioned whether specialist lenders should be closed down. He said: “There are some fundamental choices to be made here. Do we think there is a role for these specialist lenders at all or should we be thinking about winding them up as fast as we can and rescuing the people they have been seeking to serve as best we can?”

Pain said: “There are 12 million mortgage customers in the UK and a good proportion of those customers would not have access to the mortgage market if it was not for the opportunities of some of those lenders.”

He said the focus needs to be on the affordability of mortgages rather than closing off specific sectors of the market.

City minister Lord Myners said the Department for Communities and Local Government is looking at opportunities for insurance companies and pension funds to buy property portfolios in the buy-to-let sector.

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