Santander has changed the terms of its residential conveyancing panel to require all existing members to gain the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation.

The bank, which had already made it a requirement for new members to be CQS-accredited, this week sent letters to existing panel members informing them of the change.

The letter said: ‘In line with our current criteria for all new applicants to our residential conveyancing panel, we will shortly be requiring all existing members within England and Wales to become part of the Law Society CQS by 31 March 2013.

‘This forms a part of Santander's ongoing focus on risk management and our aim of maintaining the highest standards of customer service while reducing financial crime.’

Following Santander’s recent panel review, which the Law Society said resulted in hundreds of firms being removed from the panel, the Society’s chief executive Desmond Hudson wrote to business secretary Vince Cable asking Cable to mediate talks between the Society, lenders and other parties regarding the issue of conveyancing panels.

Commenting on the change to the terms and conditions of the bank’s panel membership, Hudson said: ‘Santander has previously made CQS a requirement for all new applicants to its conveyancing panel.

'This latest move, to require all panel members to have CQS by 31 March 2013, appears to be a step up from Santander’s previous approach to CQS.’

He added: ‘The scheme continues to gain traction with lenders and this certainly illustrates growing confidence in CQS. We will continue to discuss with Santander their approach to panel management over and above CQS.’