Who looks out for your rights as a mortgage borrower?
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the financial services industry in the UK. It aims to ensure the financial markets work well - for consumers, businesses, and financial companies themselves.
The FCA protects consumers when they take out a mortgage for the home they live in (but not for buy-to-let mortgages). It introduced new rules about selling mortgages in 2014. The regulations aim to ensure that you can afford your mortgage, both now and in the future.
Mortgage brokers must be authorised by the FCA and stick to FCA rules - such as telling you about their charges and the range of mortgages they offer.
Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) settles individual disputes between consumers and businesses that provide financial services.
That means if you have a complaint or disagreement with a financial firm which you can’t resolve with the firm directly, the FOS could help.
If you have a complaint about your mortgage, the FOS can step in. For example, your complaint might be about early repayment charges, mortgage shortfall repayments, or charges for being in mortgage arrears.
You can register a complaint over the phone, online, or by post.
The FOS is free for consumers to use - it’s funded by fees paid by financial companies.
Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects customers if a financial services firm fails or goes into administration.
This means that if your bank, building society, financial adviser, or insurance company goes bust you might be able to claim compensation up to certain limits.
If you received mortgage advice that resulted in you losing money, and the firm that gave you the advice has since failed, you may be able to claim compensation with the FSCS.
The type of mortgage issues the FSCS can help with include not being advised about the different types of mortgage, and if the specific details of your mortgage were incorrect.
Information Commissioners Office (ICO)
The ICO is the UK's independent body set up to uphold information rights. If you have concerns about the way a company is gathering, holding, or using information, you can ask the ICO to investigate.
If data held about you by credit reference agencies (CRAs) is incorrect or out of date, it could lead to you being unfairly refused credit.
So if you think your mortgage lender has provided incorrect information to CRAs about your mortgage, you can make a complaint to the ICO.
You can also complain to the ICO if you keep receiving unwanted electronic marketing such as phone calls, emails, or text messages from a mortgage company.
Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) is part of the Bank of England and is responsible for the prudential regulation and supervision of about 1,500 banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers, and major investment firms.
This type of regulation means financial firms must hold sufficient capital and have adequate risk controls in place. These rules are in place to protect you, the consumer.
The PRA has introduced rules about mortgage lending to portfolio landlords. It can also stop a mortgage lender from selling certain products if necessary, or step in if a mortgage lender isn’t being run in the right way.