Bad credit mortgage applications are subject to strict rules that are enforced by the mortgage industry regulator – the Financial Services Authority. The regulator regularly investigates whether the bad credit mortgage rules are being adhered to by mortgage brokers by way of test samples and mystery customers.
Test samples often show irregularities by mortgage brokers in relation to bad credit mortgage applications meaning that not all brokers are following the rules correctly. The regulations have been designed to stamp out mis-selling with the intention of protecting the pubic from unscrupulous mortgage brokers.
One of the most common ways in which mortgage advisors have been helping their clients to secure loans is by advising them to exaggerate their income. This practice involves inflating your income on a mortgage application to make it look like you earn more money than you actually do. The purpose of this activity is to secure a larger home loan than you otherwise would and therefore buy a larger or more expensive property.
One of the main reasons for a mortgage broker choosing to engage in such an activity is to win business from people who would otherwise not be able to obtain a bad credit mortgage. A broker who helps clients to fudge their numbers will quickly earn a reputation and will receive recommendations from existing clients. Such a practice is not only dangerous because the borrower may be securing a loan that they cannot actually afford, it is also fraudulent. This can earn both the mortgage broker and their client time in prison.
Another reason is that the procuration fees paid to brokers by lenders and packagers can be a lot higher for bad credit mortgage products than standard home loans. Brokers who are out to make a quick buck will therefore target borrowers who don’t fulfill the lenders’ criteria for clean credit products and do anything possible to ensure that the application is successful.
Mortgage brokers are now required to supply their bad credit mortgage customers with an Initial Disclosure Document (IDD) and a Key Facts Illustration (KFI). These documents detail the services the mortgage broker provides and also gives personalised information about costs and risks of products. The documents form part of the Financial Services Authority’s initiative to improve customer understanding of bad credit mortgage products.
Despite the increased regulation, some mortgage brokers still engage in fraudulent activities. However, the public should be aware that this type of broker is a minority within the mortgage industry as a whole. Examples of dishonest brokers have been emerging in the press quite regularly thanks to thorough investigations by the Financial Services Authority.
Some brokers have even been charged with falsifying their incomes on their own mortgage applications. This is usually done with buy-to-let mortgages so the broker can buy more investment property than they otherwise would. Advisors who are caught out by the FSA are usually banned from conducting mortgage business in the UK for life and their clients may also face criminal charges if enough evidence is available for the police to prosecute.