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STABLE JOB , SO SAVINGS.. WHYAREN'T WE GIVEN A MORTGAGE? SUNDAY Mirror INVESTIGATES SCANDAL OF HOME LOAN FAMINE.

Byline: GARY ANDERSON; MELANIE WRIGHT

BANKS are using "dark arts" to find ways to refuse mortgages to hardworking families. A Sunday Mirror investigation has revealed buyers with stable jobs and savings have been knocked back with little explanation, or obscure reasons such as having hand-written payslips.

One young father even claims he was rejected two days after the birth of his second child when HSBC decided that it might make his childcare costs too expensive.

Mortgage experts told the Sunday Mirror banks routinely "tweak" their credit scoring systems and hide behind data protection laws.

Meanwhile the banks - including those bailed out by the taxpayer - have shamelessly boosted the profits they make on home loans.

And while families suffer they have returned to profit and are paying fat bonuses to top staff.

We spoke to victims of the "mortgage famine" who laid bare the human cost of bank policies - in the week the Council of Mortgage Lenders revealed lending in August plunged pounds 1.9billion to pounds 11.4billion - the least for a decade.

The British Bankers' Association also announced the number of mortgage approvals dropped to its lowest level this year as the ConDem's devastating cuts take hold. That triggered fears of another house price crash and sparked calls for Government intervention.

London & Country broker David Hollingworth said: "There is plenty of evidence that banks are tweaking their credit systems.

"It's real 'dark arts' stuff because the results of the scoring are not published. So the bank can make changes without having to mention a change to their lending policy."

But the banks said they were simply being responsible lenders.

HSBC said: "So far this year HSBC has accepted over eight out of 10 applicants, which is higher than the industry average."

Santander added it "considers several factors - including type of property, financial circumstances and ability to afford repayments".

And NatWest said it uses "credit scoring and credit reference agencies, with a stringent affordability assessment... to ensure a fair and accurate decision".

COMMENT: Page 14

PETER AND ANNA BUNDOCK

LOAN pounds 117,000

DEPOSIT pounds 50,000

SALARY pounds 48,000

PETER went to HSBC days after the birth of his second son to apply for a new mortgage of pounds 117,000 on his pounds 167,000 home.

The IT contractor, who wanted to invest in property for his family, said: "The adviser said they could give me the pounds 117,000, but then she started asking about service and childcare costs. That's about pounds 1,100.

"She said she had to put those on the system as 'unsecured loans' - when she did the system reduced the mortgage to pounds 35,000."

Peter, 36, and credit control supervisor Anna, who live in Crystal Palace, South London hope to soon get a loan via brokers Coreco.

END THIS NEVER LENDING STORY

By MELANIE WRIGHT Money Editor

NOBODY wants a return to negative equity and rife repossessions, but restrict-ing lending so severely is crippling thousands of first-time buyers.

Of course banks should be cautious about who they lend money to - it was lack of caution that caused the worldwide crash.

But it appears some are just cherry-picking, shut-ting out thousands who have worked hard to get on the property ladder.

Despite this, the Finan-cial Services Authority is now proposing that people must prove they can repay their mortgage - so anyone whose earnings fluctuate will have even less hope.

LUIGI CULTRERA

LOAN pounds 135,000

DEPOSIT pounds 45,000

SALARY pounds 28,000

LUIGI, 29, was turned down for a mortgage by his bank because he had gone over his current account overdraft limit several times. NatWest said no even though he had more than pounds 50,000 in a savings account with the bank. Luigi wanted to buy a pounds 180,000 flat.

He was told he could get a loan of up to five times his salary as assistant manager at London's Ritz Hotel but he said two weeks later he was refused because he had gone over his overdraft limit.

"They were happy to keep charging the overdraft fees as if it was routine, but now they are saying it is a major problem."

Luigi hopes to still buy the flat in Clapham, South London, with a loan through broker John Charcol.

DAMIEN DELAHUNTY & NAOMI RADFORD

LOAN pounds 106,000

DEPOSIT pounds 18,500

JOINT SALARY pounds 51,000

DAMIEN and Naomi were left in limbo after Santander refused a mortgage on their dream home even though they have stable jobs and excellent credit scores.

Damien, 37, a physiotherapist and Naomi, 25, a police officer, had been delighted when they had an offer of pounds 125,000 accepted on the house in Coventry, which had been on the market at pounds 167,000.

But after asking for a loan last month, they quickly became convinced the bank was looking for any excuse to say no. Damien said: "Ten days later Santander said we had been rejected because they had found a bankruptcy under Naomi's name. We told them this was ridiculous" The couple reapplied but were again rejected. Damien said: "The only reason they gave was that we had a low overall credit score - but mine is perfect and Naomi was rated at 970 out of 999 when we did our own check.

"The worst thing is that we now have to worry we could lose the house."

CAPTION(S):

Banks but no banks...Naomi and Damien were rejected twice for loan
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Title Annotation:News; Exclusive
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 26, 2010
Words:913
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