Mortgages  

CML chairman bullish in face of uncertain future

CML chairman bullish in face of uncertain future

While the Council of Mortgage Lenders may be no more this time next year, its chairman is confident the trade body’s representation in 2017 will not be materially different from what it is today.

Leeds Building Society chief executive Peter Hill addressed the CML’s annual lunch on Friday (22 April), which he pointed out could be the trade body’s last in its current form.

Earlier in the month, the CML revealed three quarters of its membership voted in favour of a proposed trade body merger, along with similar bodies including the British Bankers’ Association, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association, which are still subject to votes on incorporating their current activities.

Mr Hill explained the recommendation and the resulting vote were clear the merger is contingent on the final design meeting a very precise set of criteria:

• Under the new model, the Mortgage Council [his term for the new body] will have sufficient powers and headroom to represent the mortgage lending community as effectively as the CML does;

• The Mortgage Council will be able to develop and deliver member services, including services for associates, as the CML currently does, and;

• The Mortgage Council will be appropriately represented on the governing body of the new organisation.

“Having received a mandate from the membership, we have now embarked on the hard work in making sure the delivery lives up to expectations,” he told the 620-strong audience.

“Given the conditions we have specified, in substance I don’t expect our trade body representation in 2017 to be materially different from now.”

Mr Hill continued the CML still has a “very full agenda” which includes an expanding research programme, with development of “a further vision for our data services”.

He promised to be working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority on the review of competition in the mortgage sector and post-MMR thematic reviews, along with assisting the Bank of England on the long-term prudential framework for lending.

“And we are embracing the knotty policy challenge of developing a framework for lending to older borrowers in safe and effective ways.

“These are the issues which matter to our membership and these are the issues that will take priority for the CML board and executive team as the trade association merger progresses in the background.”

Once the members of all the trade bodies have completed their own decision-making processes, if all the trade bodies agree on the proposal to amalgamate, the Financial Services Trade Association Review team will decide on the operational aspects of integration.

The merger was first suggested by an independent review last year, following pressure from Barclays, Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank, Co-operative Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, RBS, Santander, TSB and Virgin Money.

Lenders said they wanted to review the current trade body setup in order to cut costs and avoid duplication of work, with former Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards leading the investigation.

peter.walker@ft.com