The announcement that 50 specialist policeman have been drafted to clamp down on mortgage fraud is a sign the industry is failing to identify criminals, providers warn.
AToM and Tiuta today called on the whole mortgage industry to take responsibility for finding fraudsters and punish them accordingly.
Vic Jannels, chairman All Types of Mortgages (AToM), says: “Bringing criminals to justice can only be in the long-term interests of mortgage professionals.
“All of us who are interested in securing a mortgage industry that applies best practice – rather than one that, by necessity, needs police action, should call on the FSA, the CML and all industry practitioners to support the police and drive out the criminals who tarnish our industry and ultimately cost us and the consumer money.
“Lastly, make the punishments, for those found guilty, meaningful.”
Tiuta director Gary Booth also highlighted the role lenders should be playing in identifying fraud at an early stage, including better educating staff to spot criminals.
“What surprises me is the apathy or naivety with which some lenders approach fraud when it can impact so negatively on their business. At Tiuta we cross-check all valuations and, where there is a discrepancy, use our internal surveyors.
“We have never added on costs for such cross-checks, but, even if some lenders did, the cost would be minimal. I believe that most brokers would rather have had £10 or so added to the cost of mortgages, but still have had access to abundant credit, rather than the current situation where lenders, unsure of the real value of their portfolios, are unwilling to lend further.
“Lender complacency regarding potential fraud has contributed to where we are today. I firmly believe that it is up to all lenders to be certain that they have the correct checks and balances in place to ensure that fraudsters don’t slip through the net.”
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