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FCA asks for new mortgage powers

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."

damian.fantato@ft.com