Public awareness and disquiet grows at reduction in lender panels.

Public awareness and disquiet grows at reduction in lender panels.

Hilary Osbourne of The Guardian wrote an article published in The Guardian on the 2nd September drawing attention to the impact on the public of reduced panel sizes.
“Mortgage lenders cut lists of “approved” solicitors for conveyancing” can be found following the link at the end of this story.  The article argues that consumers may end up paying twice, once for a conveyancer or their choice and once for a conveyancer of the lenders choice.
With comments from Gary Score of Hart Brown, about people being restricted from supporting their local family solicitors and Jonathan Smithers in his role as chair of the Law Society’s conveyancing commenting on reduction in consumer choice, the article raises the concerns of firms being removed from lender panels to a new level of public awareness.
In the final paragraph Eddie Goldsmith of the Conveyancing Association argues that panel reduction will ultimately be good for consumers.
The anti bank sentiment due to the excesses of lending pre recession is clearly a large issue for many Guardian readers. What will be interesting is what level of sensitivity banks will have to this type of public awareness and the negative press that follows. Could the public’s anti bank sentiment cause any change in the lenders conveyancing panel strategies? 
We wonder whether rather than promoting “Quality” as the Law Society marketing theme of the moment the Law Society and the CLC should swallow their pride and get together to try and raise public awareness of the legal firms being put out of business by some lenders.  In the article Jonathan Smithers points out that many lenders seem to adopt very arbitrary measures to manage the risk. Whilst it is clear some lenders are adopting rational approaches to the risk that the SRA and the CLC should have dealt with years ago other lenders are behaving in ways that is hard to align with a well considered risk management assessment of the situation.
The article doesn’t actually point out that for joint representation to work both clients, the purchaser and the lender must be comfortable with the choice of lawyer that is the lender is a client too.  Why should a lender work with a firm that it is uncomfortable with for whatever reason if that decision making process is based on a rational risk assessment?
Do let us know if you have been removed from a panel.
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