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 Graham Durkin

18:56 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

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

Did you happen to find those articles I posted

by Badger

19:22 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "graham durkin" at "20/01/2015 - 18:56":

Yes, but they were not what I had imagined.

I had read them before.

Thank you very much for digging them out however and apologies for not responding earlier.

(Up to my ears in tax returns...)

by Marshie Cyrus

19:57 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

I'm absolutely astonished that we/you have got this far!!
Let's hope the judge can read a very simple contract in the way that the original writer had intended for it to be read.
A Bank of England base rate tracker mortgage cannot simply become a svr mortgage because someone has worked hard and saved hard to buy 3 or more properties.
Roll on tomorrow!!!

by Dan Smith

20:07 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

Truly an outstanding achievement Mark - I believe that none of us would be where we are without your genius (and energy) for leading, motivating and organising. Thank you and everyone else who have helped to get us to the eve of victory.

The very best of luck for tomorrow to you, Mark Smith and all of us.

The WBBS certainly never, ever imagined having to face our very own "Alexander the Great".

Vsego vam samogo dobrogo (Rus)

by Jamie Finch

20:28 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

Good luck for tomorrow and thanks to everyone for all their hard work especially Mark and Mark of course 🙂

by Mark Alexander

21:53 PM, 20th January 2015, About 7 years ago

There is a pub close to the Courts called the White Swan. Lets meet there after the trial.

There is also a Starbucks which is very close, Neil and I will be working in there from around 9am

by David Lawrenson

8:27 AM, 21st January 2015, About 7 years ago

I also got a bit of coverage for the campaign here at the Investors Chronicle, which is an FT publication:
13th Jan 2014 “Investors Chronicle”
You will need to be signed up to read it

by Paul Anderton

9:33 AM, 21st January 2015, About 7 years ago

Good luck today to every one involved in the WestBrom case.

by Dean

10:50 AM, 21st January 2015, About 7 years ago

Not everyone Paul , only our side 🙂

Do we know if it has started yet ? Anyone there able to add the odd post to keep us updated ?

Did everyone who wanted to get into the Court Room get in ?


by Andy Bell

11:13 AM, 21st January 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dean " at "21/01/2015 - 10:50":

Twitter went quiet just over an hour ago so I assume they are in and proceedings have started. They probably have a news blackout in the courtroom so we have to wait for the the first break. Meanwhile I'll get back to pacing the room and biting my nails.

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