20:21 PM, 19th January 2015, About 7 years ago 124

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#WestBromTrackerMark Smith, Head of Chambers at Cotswold Barristers will be representing landlords at the Commercial Court at Rolls Building, Fetter Lane, London this Wednesday in the UK’s largest ever direct access legal case. #WestBromTracker

We will be tweeting under hashtag #WestBromTracker so please feel to join in the discussion on Twitter and re-tweet. You may also wish to use hashtags such as #mortgage #news and #media but #WestBromTracker is the essential one.

Please wish us luck because this really is a David and Goliath fight. The people affected by these tracker rate margin hikes trusted their mortgage lenders to treat them fairly. Via Property118 a group has managed to raise over £500,000 to have a case against the West Bromwich Mortgage Company (a wholy owned subsidiary of West Bromwich Building Society) tested in Court. The funds raised to fight the case have not come from the super rich, they’ve been contributed by hard working folk who chose to invest their hard earned savings into providing much needed rental property. They trusted the building society to honour the mortgage deal they signed up to but sadly this trust has been broken. 

The Bank of Ireland, Manchester Building Society, Skipton Building Society and their wholly owned subsidiary AmberHomeloans have previously got away with similar rate-hike shenanigans but it is not too late for affected borrowers to take action. Hopefully a win on Wednesday 21st January will discourage other mortgage lenders from tinkering with tracker rate mortgage margins in the future and will also inspire borrowers affected by similar rate hikes to fund legal action against those mortgage lenders too.

Trading Standards, the Advertising Standards Association and the FCA all refused to get involved in the dispute. The Financial Ombudsman Service appear to have chosen to ignore all contractual legal arguments and to make very strange decisions in all complaints regarding actions of mortgage lenders in respect of hiking interest rates when their sales pitch clearly linked rates to a transparent pricing structure.

Watch this space and please feel free to post comments.


  • Before the credit crunch tracker mortgages were incredibly popular, there are an estimated 1 million tracker rate mortgages in the UK, many of which are secured against peoples own homes
  • Tracker rate mortgages are intended to provide transparent pricing. The rate of interest is directly linked to the Bank of England base rate plus an agreed margin for an agreed period of time, in many cases for the lifetime of the loan.
  • Some unscrupulous lenders have increased the margin charged over the base rate and this has been the basis of our legal argument against the West Bromwich Building Society, i.e. the contract did not allow for this to happen.
  • Some peoples mortgage payments have more than doubled despite the base rate not having moved for nearly six years.
  • Hikes in tracker rate margins haven’t only affected landlords
  • In 2013 Bank of Ireland increased the margins on over 15,000 tracker rate mortgages, those affected were both homeowners and people who had taken buy to let mortgages in order to buy properties as investments to provide for their retirement. To date, insufficient funds have been raised to take this case to Court.
  • People naturally tighten their purse strings when their mortgage costs increase and many have expected regulators to step in and help them. Sadly the regulators’ appetite to take on the banks and building societies who have breached their mortgage terms by increasing their tracker rate mortgage margins has been none existent. That’s why Court action has been so necessary.
  • If every affected person had committed just £500 to fight for their rights in Court this sharp practice from mortgage lenders would have been nipped in the bud a long time ago.
  • In 2010 Skipton Building Society and their wholly owned subsidiary Amber Homeloans removed a contracted interest rate cap from their mortgages which had a similar effect of massively increasing the mortgage payments of a reported 80,000 borrowers. The interest rate cap, which was linked to the bank base rate, was removed despite public announcements from their CEO less than a year before that contractual arrangements would be honoured. A case has never been taken to Court due to lack of financial commitment from affected borrowers. more about the Skipton Building Society rate hike and links to source information here >>> http://www.property118.com/skipton-building-society-legal-action/64751/
  • Both Property118 and Cotswold Barristers are keen to pursue legal action against Skipton Building Society and the Bank of Ireland if public interest in doing so is sufficiently high and subject to the required level of funding being attained.
  • The required level of financial commitment to take on the other offending lenders would be circa 2,000 borrowers each committing around £500.


by Mark Alexander

15:32 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Susan Mason" at "20/01/2015 - 15:22":

Thanks Mark, I have sent an email notification to all represented parties.

by Mark Alexander

15:48 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

Hashtag #WestBromTracker is doing very well on Twitter 🙂

See >>> https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WestBromTracker&src=typd

Please remember to keep checking and re-tweeting

by Graham Durkin

16:04 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Badger " at "20/01/2015 - 14:27":

I remember NICOLE BLACKMORE was writing articles regarding our plight at the outset ,i believe this lady writes for the teleraph,I have dug 2xothers out 1,RUTH SUTHERLAND THE OBSERVER DATED SUNDAY 14/06/09 & EDITORIAL THE GUARDIAN SATURDAY 13/06/09 ,both these articles are worth reading ,as they potentially ask a few questions reading between the lines. There could well be more articles from other papers but these sprung to mind when our story first hit the headlines


by Onslow Clough

16:23 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

We hope that tomorrow a positive result in court for all those who have suffered the arbitrary rate hikes by the West Brom will show that British justice does not allow the minority to be trampled over. The efforts of everyone on the Property 118 forum to bring this case to court are laudable. Good luck everyone.

by Graham Durkin

16:34 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Badger " at "20/01/2015 - 14:27":

I did find a reference to another story linked to the WEST BROM demise dated 12/06/09 by David Leigh & George Grant, I recall a developer purchasing a large portfolio of flats on a commercial loan,a large amount of money was put up and it then all went SOUTH when the flats were not worth what was stated.

THE HEADING WAS LENDERS CRISIS LINKED TO GROSSLY OVERVALUED FLATS ,I think that one came via the GUARDIAN ,business section.I,m not really a computer buff so not sure how to go back in time
Hope that helps

by Badger

17:52 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

Just to confirm for those of us unsure of the exact location - is this the correct address that we are heading for:

The Rolls Building

7 Rolls Buildings
Fetter Lane

by Graham Durkin

18:27 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Badger " at "20/01/2015 - 17:52":

If your the ONLY ONE there then its the WRONG building

by Mark Alexander

18:32 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Badger " at "20/01/2015 - 17:52":

Yes that's the right place, or at least I hope it is because that's where I will be LOl

by Jackie Kay

18:49 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

Sorry I can't be there tomorrow! Im gutted but work commitments.

I am hoping justice will prevail and these crooks get whats due, or should I say I'll get whats due to me - 15 months of overpayment!

Good luck guys!

by Andy Bell

18:53 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

All the best for tomorrow. With you all in spirit.

I've twittered my MP (EDM 976 supporter) it would be good if we could get the MP's following.

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