How the West Brom is supporting mortgage prisoners

There has recently been a lot of press coverage about ‘mortgage prisoners’ and campaigns to help borrowers who are stuck paying higher interest rates.

Gareth Madeley- Senior Product Manager
Gareth Madeley- Senior Product Manager

At the West Brom, we are one of the lenders that are committed to helping these borrowers with a variety of product options that enable them to switch to a more competitive rate.

You may be wondering ‘what are mortgage prisoners?’ Mortgage prisoners are borrowers who are with lenders that no longer actively offer new mortgage products and who, due to the stringent requirement on affordability tests introduced following the financial crash of 2008, have been unable to take advantage of lower-cost mortgage options.

The FCA estimates that 250,000* UK mortgage holders can be classed as ‘mortgage prisoners’. Of this, approximately 14,000 have been assessed as potentially immediately eligible to switch products using the modified affordability assessment that was introduced by the FCA in 2020.

We were the first lender in the UK to implement modified affordability rules in September 2020 and from this we have seen a steady stream of applications from borrowers, but we understand that more needs to be done to support mortgage prisoners.

We understand there have been very limited options available for mortgage prisoners and in order to help more of these borrowers, we have reviewed our current product range and have extended our support for mortgage prisoners with the introduction of new products up to 85% loan to value. So, for mortgage prisoners this means our modified affordability products will now be available to borrowers that have 15% equity in their homes in comparison to the 25% equity that has been required up until now.

We’ve seen first-hand the substantial savings that mortgage prisoners can make, some borrowers that have switched to the West Brom have had savings up to £700 on their monthly mortgage payment. Whilst we’re pleased with the borrowers we’ve helped so far, we’ve always acknowledged that as a mid-sized lender we can only do so much.

To qualify for the Society’s modified affordability products, borrowers must be eligible under the FCA’s Modified Affordability Assessment rules, which require, as a minimum, existing mortgage payments to have been made for a period of 12 months and there to be no arrears position. The new mortgage must also be more affordable to the borrower by reducing the monthly payment to qualify for the products. If borrowers are uncertain of their position they should either contact their existing lender or administrator or go to the Money and Pensions Service’s portal to find out more information.

Come and talk to us to see what help we can provide, call us on 0345 241 3784, or visit your nearest West Brom branch. Alternatively, you can visit our website: https://www.westbrom.co.uk/mortgages.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up payments on your mortgage. Terms, conditions and current lending policies apply.

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