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Countrywide mortgage advisers suspended for fraud

mortgagesolutions.co.uk | October 28, 2013

By Mortgage Solutions

Countrywide has launched an inquiry after some of its advisers were caught showing buyers how to get around mortgage rules.

Journalists from Channel 4’s Dispatches programme secretly filmed Countrywide staff agreeing to submit mortgage applications from aspiring borrowers who could not prove their income, according to The Sunday Times.

The advisers offered potential homebuyers buy-to-let mortgages, which do not always require proof of income as the amount of money offered is calculated according to the rental value of the property. These loans are not designed for buyers of their own homes.

According to the newspaper, an anonymous whistleblower from one of the UK’s largest estate agents told Dispatches that mortgage advisers were willing to break the rules – effectively committing fraud – because they were under extreme pressure to hit targets in order to earn their commission. The whistleblower said:

“Some consultants I knew, if they weren’t able to get a residential mortgage, would not directly say [that] to the client but they would imply that there’s an option of a buy-to-let mortgage that doesn’t need a minimum income.”

According to the newspaper an undercover reporter, posing as a potential homebuyer who had been travelling and had scant details of earnings to prove his income, visited Countrywide-owned Abbotts estate agents in Essex. He told the adviser he could afford the repayments on a £300,000 mortgage but couldn’t verify his income, and was offered a buy-to-let deal.

The adviser said: “What I need to say on the application is that you won’t be living there, it will be to rent out, which obviously will be a bit of a fib, but it’s just kind of bending the rules a little bit."

A second adviser at another branch of Abbotts offered another undercover reporter a buy-to-let mortgage having been told that she had no employment history. The adviser said it was ‘ a bit naughty’ , adding:

“There’s no-one comes knocking at your door but I have to obviously make you aware it’s a buy-to-let mortgage and that’s the only way you could get it on your income.”

Countrywide said the advisers caught on camera had been suspended pending a formal investigation. It added:

“We do not condone such actions and take these matters very seriously. We have already discussed how we can strengthen our procedures.”


Back to October 2013 Archive

CFLA was founded by the Nation's Leading Foreclosure Defense Attorneys back in 2007 to serve the Foreclosure Defense Industry and fight pervasive Bank Fraud. Since opening our virtual doors, CFLA has rapidly expanded to become the premier online legal destination for small businesses and consumers. But as the company continues to grow, we're careful to hold true to our original vision. For us, putting the law within reach of millions of people is more than just a novel idea—it's the founding principle, just ask Andrew P. Lehman, J.D.. With convenient locations in Houston and Los Angeles, you can contact Our National Account Specialist and General Manager / Member Damion W. Emholtz at 888-758-2352 for a free Mortgage Fraud Analysis or to obtain samples of work product, including cutting edge Bloomberg Securitization Audits, Litigation Support, Quiet Title Packages, and for more information about our Nationally Accredited and U.S. Department of Education Approved "Mortgage Securitization Analyst Training Certification" Classes (3 days) 24 hours for approved CLE & MCLE Credit (Now Available Online).

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