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Lenders have met the 2020 interest-only mortgage commitment, says CML

Published: 10 June 2014

The Council of Mortgage Lenders is pleased to report that mortgage lenders have successfully met a commitment they gave a year ago to contact their borrowers with interest-only mortgages.

The commitment, given by mortgage lenders to the Financial Conduct Authority, was to contact interest-only borrowers whose mortgages are due to mature by the end of 2020 about how they plan to repay their loans.

The CML and lenders nevertheless recognise that meeting this commitment is only the first part of an ongoing programme of communication with interest-only mortgage customers.

The CML surveyed members on their communications, and found that those borrowers who should have been contacted have been. The only notable exceptions in the communication programme were those with very small balances where there is little material risk, and those with whom lenders were already in contact.

Lenders have been using a variety of contact strategies. In addition to reminders and mailings requesting the customer’s written response (including questionnaire responses), telephone calls, face-to-face meetings and even home visits are also used by some lenders. Overall, around 30% of customers contacted have so far responded.

Although we do not have a comprehensive picture yet of the most successful contact strategies, overall it seems those that include a specific call to action on the part of the customer generate higher response rates.

Among those borrowers who have responded, around four out of five already had a clear plan. Among those who did not, the survey found that the solutions and approaches lenders are offering typically include term extensions, permanent conversions to capital and interest, and overpayments.  

Looking ahead, lenders will build on the experience they have gained over the past year to refine their contact strategies, continue to seek responses from borrowers who have not yet communicated with them, and gain further insight into which methods are most effective in encouraging their borrowers to respond. The CML will undertake further follow-up surveys in due course to help lenders with this work.

The latest findings sit alongside research that the CML published earlier this year showing a significant fall over the past year in both the number and the value of interest-only mortgages. It is encouraging that people are clearly beginning to act positively to take steps to manage their interest-only mortgages.

CML director general Paul Smee commented:

"We are pleased to report that lenders have met their initial commitment to contact interest-only borrowers whose mortgages are due to mature by the end of 2020. But we all recognise that this is just the start of a long term, continuous communication programme.

"So far, around 30% of customers who have interest-only mortgages maturing by 2020 have responded to their lender on their repayment plans. This is an encouraging start, but also highlights the challenges of achieving effective two-way communication.

"If you have an interest-only mortgage due to end before the end of 2020 and you have not yet responded, it is important to communicate with your lender, even if you know your plans are on course. If they are not, your lender will want to work with you to help minimise any difficulties."


Notes to editors

1. The Council of Mortgage Lenders' members are banks, building societies and other lenders who together undertake around 95% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK. There are 11.2 million mortgages in the UK, with loans worth over £1.2 trillion.

2. CML survey results are based on responses from lenders representing an estimated 88% of outstanding interest-only mortgage lending.

3. At the end of 2013 there were an estimated 2.2 million pure interest-only loans outstanding, and a further 620,000 part interest-only, part repayment mortgages outstanding on lenders' books. Compared to 2012 this represents a fall of around 300,000 pure interest-only mortgages (down 12%), and around 90,000 part-and-part mortgages (down 13%). For further information on the CML's research earlier in the year that showed how the number and value of outstanding interest-only mortgage lending has been reducing, see

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