CML moves to pool data on mortgage lender panels
Work is under way on the development of a system for sharing data about members of mortgage lenders’ conveyancing panels, to ease the administrative burden on solicitors, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) revealed last week.
Paul Smee, the CML’s director general, told a Conveyancing Association event that it is ‘too early to say’ when the system will be operational. The council is ‘facilitating, rather than managing’ the effort, he said.
Smee said there is no template or best practice for managing conveyancing panels as it is up to each lender to decide on the size and model of its panel. But he said he wanted a system that minimises the burden of administration for conveyancers as well as minimising risk.
‘Panel managers should be able to pool the information they gather from solicitors and licensed conveyancers to create a more efficient system,’ he said.
Conveyancing Association chair Eddie Goldsmith welcomed the idea, saying that at a time of unprecedented change ‘serious practitioners need to avoid falling victim to ill-thought-out measures, so co-operation between leaders of the two sectors is essential’.
Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson also welcomed the CML move: ‘Solicitors are spending increasing amounts of time responding to individual lenders’ panel information requirements. We support the idea of creating a system that would allow mortgage lenders to pool data and, so far as possible, to collect information for all lenders to use in panel management.’
He said: ‘It is very much in our members’ interests not to have to provide details on a lender-by-lender basis, and much of the data that lenders require from conveyancers is already collected by the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.’ Hudson said the Society had already opened dialogue with most lenders, the Building Societies Association and CML on a range of lender panel issues.
He added: ‘We are anxious to remove any obstacle that prevents wide lender panels and effective consumer choice.’
Meanwhile, the Land Registry’s head of registration legal services, Francis Twambley, announced details of a pilot electronic document registration service for conveyancers. Somerset firm Fasttrac is testing a new e-document registration service designed to provide a faster and more cost-effective way to submit and receive applications electronically instead of on paper. If successful, the electronic service will be implemented in full by the end of the year.