He warned that the compound interest charged on equity release mortgages means debt will get bigger and bigger each year, eating away at equity, meaning the risks increase when a consumer takes out such a mortgage at a younger age.
Mr Woolard said: "As of August this year, there are 139 product options available – compared to 58 in 2016 and only 24 in 2007.
"This is mirrored in the proliferation of advertising we are seeing. A note put through my door recently promised 'help if you are 55 and over' and attempted to woo with offers of a 'free initial consultation' and 'nothing to pay until completion'.
"Past experience shows that when lenders compete on loosening their criteria, it does not end well – for consumers or firms."