At one level one can, with regret, understand being bested, beaten, out-negotiated or dropped by a business of ruthless efficiency. What is a little galling for conveyancing solicitors who have been dropped from lenders’ panels is that the major banks with whom they are dealing seem to use systems that are a touch haphazard.
Copious information is requested - but receipt goes unacknowledged, and time passes. Sometimes nothing happens, sometimes more information is requested. Law firms might be told they are to be dropped, only to receive a subsequent communication telling them this was an administrative error.
All this is happening at a point when, as the Bank of England reported this week, new mortgage lending is at a 15-year low. This is a slow-moving market. Where panel cuts are too extensive, growth in separate representation for lender and borrower is a possible outcome, with the lender’s solicitor relying heavily on the work of the buyer’s solicitor - a further cause of delay.
It is not too much of a stretch to say that the commercial uncertainty and disorganisation that lenders are bringing to this part of the property market is affecting all, and contributing to the slow speed of that market. Not quite the time to shake up the supply chain then, even if lenders had a grip on their own processes, which going by the experience of many solicitors, they do not.