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The Council of Mortgage Lenders

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 13 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Mortgage Lenders Council Cml Borrowers

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) is the industry body or trade association for the mortgage lending business. Their stated aim is to encourage a “thriving environment for the UK housing and mortgage markets”.

Whilst the CML focuses on the interests of the mortgage industry, it recognises that good practice makes good business sense. The CML, therefore, emphasises the need for mortgage lenders to treat borrowers fairly. The mortgage industry came in for some fairly heavy criticism during the worldwide global recession. Consequently, the CML may currently be particularly keen to demonstrate that it acts in the best interests of both lenders and borrowers – and of the economy as a whole.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has over 100 members who together represent up to 98% of all private residential mortgage lending in the UK. In May 2010, (according to CML figures,) gross mortgage lending totalled £11.3 billion – at a time when the mortgage market is still considered to be depressed. Therefore it is clear that the CML represents a substantial portion of a sizeable industry.

Members of the Council of Mortgage Lenders include banks, building societies and other financial institutions involved in mortgage lending. To be a member of the CML an organisation must be regulated by the Financial Services Authority. In addition to full members, the CML also has associate members, who come from related industries, including surveyors, lawyers and conveyancers.

What Does the Council of Mortgage Lenders Do?

The Council of Mortgage Lenders performs various functions. These range from giving training and guidance to industry insiders to providing the media with information and data on the mortgage industry.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders provides guidance to lenders and to individuals who work in the mortgage business on what constitutes best practice. This advice may take the form of Codes or Statements of Practice or of guidance notes. Although not compulsory, mortgage lenders are expected to adhere to these. As well as issuing guidance, the CML also offers ongoing training courses on all areas of the industry. These may take the form of live seminars and workshops or online e-training courses. Training is offered on a wide range of issues and may be tailored to address current trends in the mortgage market.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders is the mouthpiece for the mortgage industry and liaises with other organisations such as the Financial Services Authority and the Financial Ombudsman, as well as the government. In this way they seek to influence the policy decisions which relate to the mortgage industry. In addition, the CML can respond to concerns or complaints made about the mortgage industry as a whole, or to consultations relating to it. The range of policy areas with which the CML concerns itself is extremely wide and covers most subjects which are in way related to mortgages or mortgaged properties.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders also produces its CML Handbook which is aimed at conveyancers who act for lenders. This handbook sets out in a standardized form precisely what lenders expect and require when they instruct a lawyer or conveyancer to act for them in relation to a mortgage. Conveyancers acting for lenders will have to comply with the guidance given in the Handbook.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders issues regular press releases to the media on mortgage-related subjects. It provides statistics, economic data and research information on the UK’s mortgage market. Topics on which the CML issues press releases include house prices, mortgage availability and the projected number of repossessions. Not all of the data and statistics collected by the CML are made publicly available – some of the information they provide is targeted directly at their own members.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders is not a regulatory body and, therefore, does not deal with complaints about individual mortgage lenders. Neither does the CML offer mortgage advice to individuals. However, some general consumer advice and information about mortgages is available on their website. Further, borrowers and consumers may get an idea of how their mortgage lender might behave by looking at the guideline and policy documents on the CML website. If a lender is a member of the CML, a borrower may reasonably assume that they will act in accordance with the CML guidelines.

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