HSBC had a right to refuse post-65 loan

Ian McIver

With regards to the story about HSBC refusing a loan to a couple because the man will be 68 when it matures (FA 16 April), I have seen a lot of support for the Fos decision to back the complaint. I take an alternative view.

When the whole banking crisis hit in 2007/08, everyone said it all started with irresponsible lending. The market was a free-for-all and all manner of silliness was happening. Once the first card in the pack fell – well, we all know what then followed.

Roll on to the present and of course we now see a much tighter market – some of it imposed by the mortgage market review, but some of it simply the result of prudent decisions made by the institutions involved

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And this is the moot point. Since when did complaining about a firm’s commercial decision-making become a Fos issue? Surely any decision by a firm is going to involve stereotyping. It is the way life works

I had to remortgage recently and found that interest-only mortgages were no longer available. Circumstantially I could argue that the decision affected me in the same way – I have a 10 per cent loan-to-value. I did not cry in front of Fos, I accepted that not only had the firm in question changed its stance, but also it had the right to change its stance.

If HSBC has decided that it considers loans maturing post-65 to be too risky then it should have the right to do so. The client has not been affected aside from the fact that they might have to spend some time looking elsewhere.

There are too many quangos interfering in business which ultimately have knock-on consequences – no one will ever convince me that aligning annuity rates across gender was right.

Ian McIver

Development Director

Nexus IFA