Brokers warned over MMR ‘fraud’

Speaking at the Tenet Business Conference, she also discussed the “massive task” lenders face in adapting to the new regulation, which is said to far exceed initial £67m estimates.

Brokers will now be expected to do more than find the most suitable product based on lender criteria, she discussed. They will be expected to know everything about the client.

Harle said: “If you input a case on their system, and the data does not match up 100% to the evidence that you provide, that equals potential fraud in their eyes.

“How you protect yourself is get everything up front, particularly credit searches. You can defend yourself, you can say: “No, the customer told me this.”

“The lenders do make checks behind the scenes. Tell your customers that and it might make them volunteer and get everything out there.”

Concerns were also raised over how lenders were preparing for MMR.

“We’re getting a little bit concerned as it’s gone very quiet. We have not been advised by any lender as to any additional information or changes that will be required.

“It just makes you think ‘where are they’ in preparing for new rules.”

The lack of housing stock was raised, which economist Roger Bootle earlier predicted could cause a major housing market crash in around five years.

Harle said the lack of supply in the market is a concern, as every home in England can fit into the same amount of land as the nation’s golf courses.

She said: “We haven’t got the bricks to build with, and a lot of the land doesn’t have planning consent on it.

“Not-so-nice brokers could be holding back stock waiting for the house market to continue to increase.”

She did describe help to buy as adding to confidence in the market however, and dismissed the ‘housing bubble,’ calling it more “a kind of droplet.”

Finally she said intermediaries need to explain to customers how price comparison sites are never independent, and that we should learn lessons and keep giving protection insurance, regardless of whether the market is doing well.

She added: “Why would you let a self-employed person walk out without any income protection?”