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October 23, 2007    

CML challenges Government to assist rather than criticise

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by Gill Montia

The Council of Mortgage Lenders is urging the government to work towards restoring confidence in the UK financial services sector, following last month’s run on mortgage bank, Northern Rock.

The Council’s director general, Michael Coogan, has stated that the government risks further damage to that confidence by its criticism of the mortgage lending sector and repeated references to “irresponsible lending”.

According to Mr Coogan, “The Chancellor’s continuing comments suggesting a lack of responsibility are not helping the reputation of the financial services industry….he is creating an environment where customers could lose confidence and that is wholly unnecessary”.

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, could instead focus on the fact that mortgage providers have been busy revising their lending criteria since the credit crisis of the summer.

Mr Coogan is still awaiting a reply to his request for a meeting with Mr Darling, in which he hopes to discuss the issues facing the mortgage sector; he would also like an opportunity to hear what the government believes the industry should be doing differently.

In addition, Mr Coogan want to explore how the government can increase support for homeowners in financial difficulty because many borrowers will be coming off fixed-rate mortgages this autumn.

As a result, the levels of arrears and repossessions are likely to rise during 2008.

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