Nationwide to suspend legal firms from panel

Nationwide to suspend legal firms from panel

The Law Society reports that Nationwide is to suspend law firms from their lending panel, based on how many transactions the firm have carried out in the last 12 months.
Firms will shortly be receiving a letter advising them that their firm will be suspended if they have carried out fewer than 4 transactions for Nationwide in the last 12 months.  The cull is based on the firm, not individual offices.  
Unlike other Lenders, Nationwide appear to be taking other factors into account with a mapping exercise being carried out so as to avoid areas being left without a local firm.
An appeals process has been put in place but this limits firms considerably.  The criteria are:

Firms must be a member of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS); and must demonstrate:

o Transaction levels are unrepresentative of the firm’s conveyancing activity; or

o While levels may be low, that the firm meets a specific need for the local or national market to retain.
Licensed Conveyancers, along with other jurisdictions including Scotland and Northern Ireland, are also subject to a similar approach from Nationwide.
Nationwide are also collecting data in order to ensure that records are kept current, with an online facility being established so that each firm can electronically upload the requested information.
The Law Society believe that cutting panel members by transaction numbers is a “blunt tool” and that it would be more prudent for lenders to work with the Law Society and use the CQS as a starting point for sharing data.  The belief is that this would negate the need for law firms to duplicate information already provided to other lenders. 
Have you been a victim of the latest panel cull?
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