Industry reacts to HSBC lender panel changes

Industry reacts to HSBC lender panel changes

The HSBC and the Law Society yesterday announced changes to the HSBC lender panel.  From August the panel will be widened from a limited panel of 43 firms to include all firms that are accredited with CQS membership.  The news has led to much industry comment.
Eddie Goldsmith, Chairman of the Conveyancing Association said of the news:
“We congratulate the Law Society for their victory for the 1400 firms who are CQS-accredited, but there remain about 3500 non-accredited firms who say they do conveyancing and the question is what will they do now?  This development confirms the direction the industry is headed, where the general solicitor who merely dabbles in conveyancing will find it increasingly difficult to compete with specialist conveyancing firms.”
Richard Hinton, Business development director of Searchflow said:
“HSBC’s acceptance that the limited panel model is unsustainable is certainly welcome news to conveyancers.  Operating a panel of just 43 firms always felt like a brave experiment and removing the panel manager and their fee scale for firms with CQS is a logical step.  But although the number of firms able to work for HSBC has now hugely increased, there remain between three and four thousand firms who are still excluded.  To create a truly level playing field for conveyancers, manage risk for lenders and to give clients the fullest possible choice of conveyancers, a system that gives universal access to rigorous panel validation is needed.  Our efforts with leading lenders to create just such a database of continuously vetted firms is, we believe, the comprehensive answer.”  
Rob Hailstone, founder of the Bold Legal Group comments:
“The HSBC’s decision to open up its panel to CQS members marks a positive step in our campaign and has been received largely positively by Bold Legal Group members.
“Over the past few months, the Bold Legal Group and others have campaigned relentlessly against the draconian changes introduced by the HSBC in January.  Over recent months we took the step to launch an H M Government E-Petition against the changes, which to date has received over 2,000 signatures.  In addition, warning posters and leaflets were displayed by our members, MPs were harangued, HSBC bank accounts were closed and client and lawyer experiences were relayed in great detail to HSBC.  An HSBC you tube song (I think YMCA) was even in the offing!
“Today’s news has been welcomed by most conveyancing solicitors, in some cases with a few provisos;  the Law Society must not allow lenders to exert too much pressure on the future development of the CQS and it should consider how complex and restrictive completing the CQS form is for larger firms.  What is of the upmost importance now is getting as many lenders as possible to agree a uniform system or process.  The public, lawyers, estate agents and others are fed up with the current scattergun approach and it is time for change.
“Our work in this area is not yet done.  We are about to launch a new look website and we will soon be unveiling our future plans for Bold Legal, which we hope to develop into a nationwide legal brand.  On the back of this recent good news we expect our membership, and as a result, our ambitions to grow.”
Today’s Conveyancer, bringing you the latest conveyancing news and updates.

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