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Mortgage brokers kicked off lending panels ‘without cause’

Mortgage brokers kicked off lending panels ‘without cause’

Halifax and Virgin Money have denied allegations they removed mortgage brokers from their lending panels without warning or explanation.

Several advisers have complained they have been abruptly removed from lending panels without reason.

Halifax and Virgin Money have disputed the claims, saying decisions to take brokers off their panels are “not taken lightly”.

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One broker, known as ‘Blueboy’ on adviser forum Cherry, alleged he was locked out of his Halifax account a year ago with no official reason. He claimed the lender informally said its action was due to “people you worked with”.

Subsequently, the broker, who asked not to be identified, was dropped by his network for no longer being whole of market.

He said: “It can literally finish you in the job. I was distraught. I was in tears. There is no comeback to lenders. Brokers are frightened.”

Another London-based broker, known as ‘Shahgeeisgr8’ on the forum, claimed he had a similar experience with Halifax, and that it ignored requests for information from him and his MP.

He was later also removed from Virgin Money’s lending panel, which he claimed took their lead from Halifax.

Halifax and Virgin Money declined to comment on specific cases, but deny wrongdoing.

Claire Barratt, senior manager at Halifax, said brokers are only removed from its panel where there is “significant evidence inaccurate or fraudulent applications and supporting documents have been intentionally provided”.

Brokers are told of decisions, and can appeal, she said.

Graeme Tones, spokesperson for Virgin Money, said it was incorrect to suggest that brokers were removed from its panel because they had been removed by another lender.

Adviser view

Ray Boulger, senior technical manager for John Charcol and a member of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries board, called for regulatory intervention to address unfairness in the market.

He said: “Courts can sit in private, and there ought to be a way for a regulator to hear both sides, where a broker would be given a fair hearing and will know the reason for removal.”