The Council of Mortgage Lenders and Which? are today launching a new “tariff of mortgage charges” that will introduce a standard format for how lenders communicate their fees, to make it easier for customers to understand charges and compare deals.
Following a Which? campaign to end the confusion around mortgage costs, the Chancellor asked the CML and Which? to work together to find ways to make it easier for consumers to understand and compare the costs of different mortgages with different lenders.
Since then, we have worked jointly to address this problem and today are launching a new tariff to help make it easier for people to understand mortgage fees and charges. There are two key improvements within the tariff:
- Standard terminology: Different lenders will now use the same names for fees, as Which? research previously found consumers find the existing range of names for similar fees too confusing.
- Common format: Each lender will list fees in the same order, and with the same descriptions, to make it easier to compare between lenders.
The new tariff has been tested on consumers, and results show that consumers found it much easier to understand and compare costs than when they used existing versions. Lenders representing 85% of the market have already committed to introducing this tariff and putting it on their website by the end of the year, and we anticipate that other lenders will also choose to adopt it.
The CML and Which? have submitted a joint report to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, outlining the work on the new tariff as well as progress towards making it easier for people to compare the total costs of different deals over different deal periods. We will continue to work together to help consumers and plan to agree a standard comparison method early next year for lenders to adopt in 2016.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:
“Thousands of people supported our call to end confusion around the cost of mortgages, so we’re pleased that our work with the CML has resulted in simplified fees and charges. This new approach should make it much easier for people to compare mortgage fees. We hope that all mortgage providers will make these changes as soon as possible.”
CML director general Paul Smee said:
“Lenders have successfully pulled together to put in place some sensible measures to help consumer understanding. We very much hope that the new tariff and standard terminology will make it demonstrably easier to understand and compare mortgage costs. Working jointly with Which? has been invaluable.”
Notes to editors
- The Council of Mortgage Lenders’ members are banks, building societies and other lenders who together undertake around 95% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK. There are 11.1 million mortgages in the UK, with loans worth over £1.3 trillion. For CML press office queries please contact Sue Anderson, email@example.com, 020 7438 8924; or Bernard Clarke, firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 7438 8923; or Gareth Hill, email@example.com, 020 7438 8922.
- More than 105,000 people signed up to support the Which? campaign to put an end to fees across the financial sector that are hidden, excessive or make the total cost difficult to understand and compare. Find out more: http://www.which.co.uk/For Which? press office queries please contact Robyn Margetts, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0207 770 7697.
- The full report to the Chancellor will be published in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday. Background on the work that CML and Which? have been undertaking can be found here.
- Lenders who are adopting the new tariff are putting it in place on their websites by the end of the year. The new terminology is being adopted by lenders from now, but there may be continuing use of old terminology (and some references in the tariff to explain when this is the case) until lenders have had time to implement the new terminology more widely. Any lenders with additional fees and charges not included in the standard tariff will make these clear separately.
- Which? previously identified the need to provide further information along with the required APR to help consumers make the right choice for a mortgage. Research carried out with the working group identified that additional information can be helpful, but further testing is needed in order to ensure the right information is provided. The CML will lead on this work going forward and we plan to agree a standard comparison method early next year for lenders to adopt in 2016.
Press Release: Mortgage