Lenders threaten to keep work in-house

MORTGAGE lenders have revealed their plans for the future of conveyancing in advance of the results of the Law Society's review.

If the society opts for separate representation nearly half of lenders will consider bringing the work in-house.

And even if separate representation is not introduced, more than 90 per cent of lenders will restrict their panels on quality grounds.

The findings come from a survey carried out by Conquest and the National Solicitors' Network.

It fleshes out the response of the Council of Mortgage Len-ders (CML) to the society's controversial consultation pa-per 'Adapting for the Future'.

The CML came out against separate representation on the grounds that it was equivalent to “taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut”, would be expensive and would also cause delays in conveyancing trans- actions.

But the survey shows that three-quarters of lenders would support separate representation if the issue of cost could be resolved.

If the society pushes ahead with its plans for separate representation, despite opposition from practitioners, three-quarters of lenders would want to see title investigated by their own solicitors.

More than 80 per cent of lenders say they will restrict their panels to those firms which are awarded the society's proposed conveyancing kite-mark. Nearly all lenders would prefer to see external accreditation rather than self-assessment.

The survey found that 100 per cent of lenders agreed that “to improve standards and reduce the high levels of default, all lenders should restrict their conveyancing panels to firms who are able to 'do the job properly' “.