Mortgage Express or Mortgage Distress?

Mortgage Express or Mortgage Distress?

12:33 PM, 6th September 2013, About 9 years ago 58

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The Mortgage Express exit strategy has been a hot potato since at least 2011 when they first met a group of 70 landlords at an event organised under the Property Tribes banner. Mortgage Express or Mortgage Distress

They have been slated by landlords for imposing terms and conditions which were buried in small print and which are no longer adopted by the mainstream buy to let lenders.

The bottom line for MX though is that their loan book is now the property of the UK tax payers and the organisation is pretty much run by Civil Servants, accountants, debt collectors/councillors and insolvency practitioners.

The Government have imposed tough targets and deadlines on the new MX team to reduce the loan book and therefore, it was inevitable that strong arm tactics, which many would describe as bullying, would be used.

Naturally they have gone for the easy targets and started by selling the concept of making over-payments to people who were too naive to work out that repaying a loan which typically costs 2.25% rarely makes sense. It’s possible to get a better return on that with a cash ISA or a deposit account in a bank or building society!  MX appear to have had scant regard to advising their clients to pay off more expensive credit first and they were never going to suggest investing any surplus into anything but reducing a debt with them were they?

The strong arm tactics have extended to imposing their “Right to Consolidate” which their contracts say allows them to use 100% of any sale proceeds to repay debts owed to them. It has even been implied on many occasions that if a borrower redeems one mortgage with Mortgage Express they can call in the rest! I’ve not seen these terms challenged in Court yet but I have come across borrowers who had stood up to Mortgage Express and there are quite a few examples on internet forums of MX having backed off. Bullies don’t like people who fight back.

Mortgage Express Reviews

General sentiment of landlords is that Mortgage Express borrowers should avoid reviews like the plague. The conspiracy theorists, of which I am one, are that MX have a very simple agenda and it’s not based on helping borrowers despite how they pitch it. It would appear the entire purpose of the meeting is for MX to persuade you to pay off or reduce your debt and/or to look for you to trip yourself up by admitting to breaching mortgage conditions which you were not necessarily aware of. Examples include:-

  • living in a property financed as a BTL
  • Letting a property which was financed as a private residence
  • letting to tenants which are now claiming benefits
  • where a property is an HMO

Would you know whether your tenants were claiming benefits though? What if they started claiming benefits after the tenancy started? What if the property became an HMO due to your local authority imposing selective or additional licencing?

Is it fair that MX could find one little problem, call in that loan and then call all the others in based on their right to consolidate conditions?

My Preferred Mortgage Express Exit Strategy

It has been mooted on several forums that MX have a target to collect a percentage of their loan book. I’m not aware whether the percentage target has ever been published but I’ve heard figures as low as 25% banded about. I suspect it’s much higher than that, otherwise, why would they carry the heavy administrative costs of their current activities as opposed to simply selling their loan book for 25% of it’s value? Perhaps they could and it’s a simple case of government ineptitude and politics preventing this from occurring? More likely, in my opinion, is that the government want to be seen to try to recover as much as possible of the tax payers bail out money.

If we knew what the desired recovery percentage was we could make suggestions. Let’s suppose the figure is 60%. Most buy to let landlords would happily refinance if their loans were discounted by far less than that. I’d certainly consider moving for a 25% to 30% write off of debt. Not every borrower would want or be in a position to go for such a deal but if only half did so, the remaining book, which I suspect would include a lot of toxic dent and low value assets due to negative equity, could still be shifted. They may only get 40 pence in the pound for these assets as a block sale but those extra 10% to 15% figures they would get from borrowers taking up their offers directly could well make up the balance.

Why don’t Mortgage Express just exit now?

I suspect it’s only a matter of time before Mortgage Express start offering golden goodbye deals to borrowers, it’s just a case of satisfying the tax payer that they’ve tried everything else first. Mortgage Express were given 7 years to exit and it is because we are into the final states of that period we are seeing them apply increasing pressure. Those of us who can survive the next few years will, I suspect, come out of this with a great deal but in the meantime we should expect the unexpected as well as underhand tactics.

What would you do if you were Mortgage Express?

What do you think Mortgage Express borrowers should and should not do to protect their interests?

Don’t be bullied by Mortgage Express

Before you agree to do anything with Mortgage Express talk to your fellow landlords. Go along to Landlords Association meetings or post comments/questions below or on Property Tribes. If Mortgage Express do bully you, fight back. If you don’t want to meet them don’t meet them. If they get aggressive with you just bear in mind that there are thousands of other Mortgage Express borrowers who are likely to have had similar experiences. Focus on the ideas that are legal and make the most sense. There are reported to be in the region of 50,000 Mortgage Express buy to let borrowers.

Via this link we have an excellent story as it unfolds of a landlord who was being forced to sell his home by Mortgage Express. It’s a very long discussion thread which was contributed to by several landlords and property professionals. To cut a long story short the landlord got his MP on side and Mortgage Express backed off.

Mortgage Express problems - You are NOT alone



Vanessa Warwick

9:45 AM, 25th October 2013, About 9 years ago

I am pleased to be able to report that Property Tribes has secured definitive answers from Mortgage Express/UKAR about their policies to redeem their loan book.

Neil Patterson View Profile

10:23 AM, 25th October 2013, About 9 years ago

Hi Vanessa,

I have just read it all and my impression is that it is a politically correct way of saying they will use any excuse possible to redeem customers BTL mortgages.

Was that your impression?

Also the point quoted below:
"Where a borrower arranges a sale or otherwise seeks a redemption of one mortgage within a portfolio, we also have a right to refuse to allow the redemption and to insist that the borrower redeems the whole portfolio. In these circumstances, rather than insisting on other redemptions, we would usually assess the equity position across the remaining portfolio and negotiate with the borrower for some or all of the surplus from a proposed sale to be used to pay down the balance on the remaining portfolio. If the remaining portfolio was already at a low LTV, we would ordinarily allow the sale to proceed without requiring any of the surplus to be applied to other properties."

Does this mean that if you remortgage one property away from MX they will try to enforce redemption of any other properties you hold with them?

Vanessa Warwick

10:28 AM, 25th October 2013, About 9 years ago

Hi Neil,

I am sorry you feel like that. I think its great that they have even answered as Mark was adamant that they wouldn't!

I felt it snuffed out some misinformation - such as ... that ALL loans were going to be called in within 7 years.

If you post your question on Property Tribes, I wlll work with MX to get an answer, as they are monitoring the thread and are willing to answer any other general questions.

If you have any personal concerns about your MX mortgages, you should phone the information line we gave at the bottom of the thread.

Neil Patterson View Profile

12:00 PM, 25th October 2013, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Vanessa Warwick" at "25/10/2013 - 10:28":

Hi Vanessa,

I think it is fantastic that you got MX to answer your questions. Very well done 🙂

I was just wondering as you took the interview what your overall impression was and if you think I am being overly cynical.

If I was MX I would of course make myself sound as reasonable as possible hence my PC comment. However my job would still be to reduce the loan book in as cost effective manner as possible for MX.

I have personally spoken to readers who are considering remortgaging away from MX to another lender, but my fear is that this could then raise a red flag for them and cause problems with other properties irrespective of not having missed payments or high LTV.

I do accept that with everything I have seen and been through in the mortgage industry over the last 5 years I am finding it very hard to trust any selflessness or acting in customers best interest.

So yes please do feel sorry for me it's been emotional!

Vanessa Warwick

12:06 PM, 25th October 2013, About 9 years ago


They replied to my questions in writing, so I cannot comment on any "feel" of the information.

However, I spoke to Tim Newman at UKAR several times and it was clear to me that he was very committed to getting the correct information out there and he saw forums as a good way to do that.

Clearly, they cannot respond to individual cases, but they are interested in communicating with landlords and working through any problems/issues.

In fact, Mr. Newman said that, as a result of some of the field visits, landlords had been able to improve the performance of their portfolio, so he regarded it as a collaborative process!

Neil Patterson View Profile

12:18 PM, 25th October 2013, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Vanessa Warwick" at "25/10/2013 - 12:06":

It's great that you have built that relationship Vanessa and can stay close to MX at that level and can report back on their guidelines.

How much do you charge for Counseling? lol

Vanessa Warwick

13:13 PM, 25th October 2013, About 9 years ago

LOL! No charge! 🙂

Jamie M

18:56 PM, 6th November 2013, About 9 years ago

Why on earth would Diana Stanger or anyone else listen to you if your only advice/help /suggestion in her situation is, go hire a lawyer. Give us all breath, why didn't we think of that. We can hire a lawyer and watch £50 notes disappear (all lawyers are illusionists, they make things disappear - money - YOURS and they have no skin in the game) Diana, go and seek better advice
Diana, get a trusted friend (whom you owe 70k to, yes that one) to take a second charge on your house for 3/4 times the equity, just more than 70k as there is interest, so the cant take your home. Then seek advice elsewhere.

Colin Childs

21:37 PM, 6th November 2013, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "06/09/2013 - 13:54":


You need to put the results in perspective. NRAM still has an asset base around £70 billion so £529 million profit isn't a huge return. Less than 1% . Also NRAM still owes the Treasury around £25 billion.

NRAM still has over 500,000 mortgages on it's books. With at least 200,000 BTL mortgages. Bradford & Bingley invented the concept and created the boom in the UK back in 1998.

There's no possibility of selling the NRAM loan book. Lloyds couldn't find a buyer for their profitable branch network so have to spin it off in the form of TSB. The concern must be the dregs that will reside at the end of the wind down, and potentially the cost to the taxpayer. As there's plenty of poor quality lending sitting on the books.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118 View Profile

9:10 AM, 23rd January 2014, About 9 years ago

Journalist looking into MX nightmare stories, please see the link on this Tweet from Vanessa at Property Tribes

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