by Ed Atkinson
21:33 PM, 25th September 2013, About 9 years ago 23
Is there a trend? First the Bank of Ireland raised their Tracker rates and now West Bromwich Building Society have followed suit, will Mortgage Express copy and raise their rates?
We borrowed a tidy sum from Mortgage Express and have been enjoying the “Product Variable Rate” of 1.75% above the Bank of England Base Rate. The rate seemed secure but West Bromwich Building Society’s recent move to increase their tracker rates worries me.
If West Bromwich BS get away with this, then will Mortgage Express have a punt as well? Their reputation these days is of doing all they possibly can, fair or foul, to get borrowers to re-mortgage to other banks.
I’ve looked back at my mortgage offers from Mortgage Express and it looks hopeful for us. The mortgages started as either discount or fixed rates and then reverted to the “Product Variable Rate”. The first one we took out in 2001 and then we renewed the deal with various extra drawdown loans and new discount rates etc. On first impression, the renewals all seem to refer back the original contract rather than start new ones. The key phrase in the original 2001 agreement was straight: “the interest rate will be 1.75% above base rate”. I trust it still stands.
Another Mortgage Express mortgage offer (2004) states “a variable rate of 6.5% (which is 1.75% above the Bank of England Base rate – currently 4.75%)” and later it states that the rate “will revert to the variable rate …. for the remainder of the term”. The separate “Conditions 2004” booklet did contain a section on Mortgage Express’s rights to change the interest rate but it started “If the interest rate is one which we can vary at our discretion …”. So again this looks good.
However, I hear from Property118 that West Bromwich have no clauses in their offer letters referring to their rights to increase their tracker margin. Also they didn’t refer to their special conditions booklet (which presumably did have some text providing for when and how the tracker margin might be changed). Finally, they ignored the October 2004 mortgage regulations cut off date.
Property118 also reports that Bank of Ireland did keep to those 3 rules and they seem to be getting away with it. So, now West Bromwich have gone further than Bank of Ireland and we all wait to see if they’ll get away with it.
Mortgage Express would need to push the boundaries further still, I guess. I suppose they are first waiting on the outcome of the West Bromwich’s move.
Are you worried as well?
Property118 is leading a Class Action group to fight back by taking a test case to Court if necessary to prove once and for all that amending the margin on a tracker rate mortgage is breach of contract. If you are worrying whether your mortgage lender will follow the lead of Bank of Ireland or West Brom please READ THIS and complete the form below to support this campaign.
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