Class Action Litigation BOI + Bristol and West Mortgages

Class Action Litigation BOI + Bristol and West Mortgages

21:03 PM, 5th March 2013, About 10 years ago 28

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Class Action Litigation BOI and Bristol and West Mortgages Increase DifferentialAs you have probably heard, Bank of Ireland (BOI) and Bristol and West have advised borrowers who took tracker rate mortgages with them prior to 31st October 2004 that they are increasing their margin to 4.49% over bank base rate.

Many landlords are concerned that if Bank of Ireland are allowed to get away with these changes other mortgage lenders will follow their lead.Property118 were first to reveal this breaking news and to begin taking action – see this thread where well over 200 comments have been left.

Landlord Action, a legal services firm with a strong pedigree in the Private Rented Sector have agreed to help. They have acted in more than 20,000 evictions and for over 2,000 letting agents. Since 1999 their free helpline has received over 210,000 calls. The founder of Landlord Action, Paul Shamplina, was one of the high profile contributors to Property118 in our formative stages. Justin Selig, the principal of the The Law Department which is a Law Society registered firm recently became a partner in Landlord Action and it is Justin who will be acting in this matter.

At this stage I am not aware what the “cause of action” will be but the following issues are all being considered:

  1. Mortgages were sold as a tracker at a margin over base rate which borrowers believed to be a fixed margin and which subsequent annual mortgage statements from BOI seems to have also supported
  2. Margins have not been adjusted previously and annual mortgage statements imply that the agreed margin over base will be maintained until the end of the agreed mortgage term
  3. Incentives offer by BOI to switch to another mortgage lender, offered in January this year, contained no mention of any intention to change the margin over the bank base rate charged on these mortgages
  4. Terms relied upon by the bank not meeting FSA and advertising standards principles whereby they should be clear, fair not  misleading
  5. The terms being quoted by BOI were not pointed as being of importance by brokers or solicitors to borrowers
  6. The terms being relied upon are fundamental to the contract but are not sufficiently highlighted in such a way that borrowers or even their professional advisers were able to comprehend their importance
  7. Irish Nationals are not being subjected to the increased margin
  8. Ambiguity of whether the “differential” actually applies to the tracker margin
  9. Contract terms being relied upon not being allowed post FSA regulation of mortgage lending as of October 2004

The above may not be an exhaustive list.

The comments section on the original thread will soon be closed but please feel free to continue to post your thoughts and updates in the section below this thread.

To register your interest in taking part in the class action please complete the form below and we will forward the information on to Justin Selig, the solicitor who will be dealing with this matter.


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Justin Selig - solicitor

23:44 PM, 1st April 2013, About 10 years ago

My thoughts on the response from the FSA are as follows:-

1 They state that having looked at the mortgage contracts they don’t believe there the terms to be unfair. However the mortgage contracts are only part of the story. The sales literature provided by Bristol and West offers mortgages with tracker terms for 2 years, 3 years and also lifetime trackers. The complainants are those who believed they had a lifetime tracker. They would have paid a different rate of interest to those borrowers who only took a 2 or 3 year tracker – to reflect the different risk to the bank. In order for the FSA to fully consider the borrowers’ positions they also need to look at the initial sales literature and the subsequent correspondence sent to borrowers by the lender.

2 The response states that “Bank of Ireland UK volunteered to exclude customers from this change where there is evidence suggesting the customer could have been led to believe the differential was for the “life” or “lifetime” of the product.” If this is the case, then the bank seems to have overlooked the 170 or so borrowers who have contacted me to state that they believed to have a lifetime tracker but have received the letter from the bank advising them of the change in differential. Furthermore I have seen recent correspondence from the bank to a borrower stating that the differential is fixed for the remaining term of the mortgage, and yet the borrower has still received the letter of increase from the bank.

3 The FSA does not really appear to have looked into the reality of the ability for borrowers to re-mortgage. Many of the mortgages taken out will have been self-certified and those borrowers would find it very difficult to obtain new terms, and any terms they do find will be substantially more onerous than the current terms. Indeed many of the people who contacted me told me that they were offered substantial pay-outs (in some cases of several thousands of pounds) by the Bank of Ireland last year to entice them to move elsewhere. When they looked into the reality of re-mortgaging even though they were being offered a pay-out by the Bank of Ireland it wasn’t worth doing. It should be noted that when the borrowers were being offered this pay-out the bank did not mention to them that they were going to increase the differential some months later.

4 It is a little naïve to think that other lenders are not closely scrutinising what the Bank of Ireland are doing and considering their options to potentially increase the differential on their tracker mortgages. The impact that this would have on the housing market would be potentially very damaging – affecting not only borrowers but tenants who are in private rented accommodation as this will have a knock on effect of increasing rents.

5 Based on this response, it is clear that the FSA is not taking responsibility to protect the interests of the borrowers. It will therefore be up to the borrowers to take matters forward themselves.

Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee has written back to the FSA with quite a strong response. He is quite clearly not satisfied with the response he got, however I am somewhat dubious as to whether this avenue of enquiry has any mileage. The bank did however tell the FSA that it would exclude anyone who believed that the differential over the Bank of England base rate was fixed for the term would be excluded from the increases. It would therefore be worth questioning the bank on this comment to the FSA.

Over the past few weeks we have received a huge amount of interest from BOI borrowers. I am meeting a barrister later this week to discuss tactics on how to take this forward and will post at the end of the week with our proposals.


20:40 PM, 3rd April 2013, About 10 years ago

If it turns out to be the case that the differential is fixed for the term, the bank told FSA it would exclde those contracts from the increase. would i need to write to them stateing the fact, or will it be automatically canceled by the bank.

Justin Selig - solicitor

0:39 AM, 6th April 2013, About 10 years ago

I have met with a barrister today to discuss the case generally and how to proceed to the next stage. We are waiting for a formal opinion which we will receive early next week. In the meantime given the response from the FSA to Andrew Tyrie and then his letter back to the FSA – see attached links and , it is our opinion that we should now write to the Bank of Ireland on behalf of all the borrowers to obtain an initial response to their comment that “if any borrower believed that the differential was for the life or lifetime of the product then they would be excluded from the increase”.

I would therefore like to hear from any borrower who can provide me with evidence that they were led to believe this. I have already heard from over 200 people on this case and I have received copies of terms and conditions from a large number of people. However, if you could provide me with evidence to counter the bank’s claim as set out above, then we have a good starting point. You can email this information to

If you would like us to write to the bank on your behalf, we will require a small financial contribution from you, towards reviewing your terms and conditions and sending the letter. The contribution would also go towards reimbursing for the Counsel’s opinion that they have funded. If you would like us to go ahead on your behalf, please send the following information to us:-

1 Your initial offer letter from the bank

2 The terms and conditions of your mortgage

3 Any marketing material you were provided with at the time

4 Any subsequent correspondence you have received regarding the rate you pay and/or your differential

5 A copy of your passport and a utility bill to confirm your identity.

Upon receipt of the above we will contact you regarding payment and provide you with an engagement letter.

I will update you further next week.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

13:42 PM, 9th April 2013, About 10 years ago

Justin will be writing today to everybody who has registered an interest in the Class Action.

14:16 PM, 10th April 2013, About 10 years ago

Exchange of emails so far with MP/Treasury Committe below. Not sure if I can join any action as I have already had my rates increased and am a private homeowner not a Landlord. Very annoyed by all this !!!

Dear Mr Andrew Griffiths MP

Please see below my email to Andrew Tyrie MP and the reply from Steven Price at the Treasury Committee in which he suggests raising the matter with yourself. I am hoping you can perhaps lend support to Mr Tyrie in his dealings with the FSA as this matter is of great concern to many borrowers. Aside from the direct impact I have experienced, I think an important point is that if Bank of Ireland are allowed to do this then all confidence is lost that borrowers should be able to have that their mortgage contracts will not be varied unfairly.
I would be pleased to hear from you.

Yours sincerely
Keith Lamley

From: Treasury Committee []
Sent: 09 April 2013 11:37
Subject: RE: Bank of Ireland

Dear Mr Lamley,

Thank you for your email to Mr Andrew Tryie MP concerning your Bristol and West mortgage. Your email has been passed to me for reply.

I can provide you with the letters that we have sent/received from the FSA. They’re all on website and the link is here:

The only thing we can advise you to do is to consider contacting the Financial Ombudsman Service (, or alternatively you could raise the issue with your local MP.

Mr Tyrie is waiting for a response to his letter of the 21 March to Martin Wheatley at the FSA, but when we receive this and the Committee agree to publish it we will put it on our website as with the others.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,

Steven Price

Senior Committee Assistant

Treasury Committee

7 Millbank | London | SW1P 3JA

From: Keith Lamley []
Sent: 03 April 2013 14:31
To: TYRIE, Andrew
Subject: Bank of Ireland

Dear Mr Tyrie

I have read, with great interest, some of the press comment regarding the mortgage rate hikes by Bank of Ireland which I gather you feel to be unjustified. I agree!

Much of the comment seems to be about proposed increases, but in my own case this has already happened. My mortgage was with Bristol & West and was bought out by Bank of Ireland in 2010. The rate at the time was 2.99%. In March 2012 they wrote to me to advise that their Standard Variable Rate was increasing in 2 stages - to 3.99% in June 2012 and 4.49% in September 2012. Thus my payment rate has increased by 50% at a time when Bank base rate has remained low and flat. They encouraged me to remortgage but unfortunately I had originally borrowed the maximum my earnings would permit and my earnings have fallen since then, so I am trapped and entirely at their mercy. My only option will be to sell my house if rates go up again or my earnings don't improve. Letters of protestation have met with no response.

(Regrettably) I am not in your constituency, but given your interest and knowledge of the situation, I would be very grateful indeed if you could supply me with any comment or information that would be useful, or course of action that you feel I could take.

Thank you in anticipation.

Kind regards

Keith Lamley

Gary Nock

15:26 PM, 10th April 2013, About 10 years ago

Just had my letter from the Burglars Of Ireland telling me what my payments will be on the 1st May. Extra £158 a month. So £120 just sent to Justin. Lets hope the advice is for an injunction!!

22:50 PM, 11th April 2013, About 10 years ago

You mention in a previous post that Irish Nationals are excluded. I received two letters from Bank of Ireland regarding an increase in differential on two mortgages for buy to let properties in the UK. I am an Irish National and resident in Ireland. The Irish newspapers have reported over the past few days that Bank of Ireland has been conducting research to seek ways to get homeowners to give up their trackers.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

8:05 AM, 26th April 2013, About 10 years ago

Hello all

I heard from Justin late last night as he had just received the first draft of counsels opinion.

Drum roll ……………..

It is VERY positive and we have a number of options open to us.

We now need to recruit as many more affected borrowers as possible. It is NOT too late to join in the Class Action.

Justin will no doubt comment again later today but in the meantime I have now included the Class Action Expression of Interest Form in the first article we published which resulted in this mammoth thread of comments - see >>>

Hopefully more people will find the Registration of Interest form easily there

Now we need your help.

Please tell everybody you know.

Talk to landlord groups you belong to and ask them to communicate this to all of their members.

Share this page on social media and other forums.

Buy a megaphone and a sandwich board ……………. OK that’s maybe taking it a bit to far but you get the message

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