The ASTL members have voted to toughen up its Code of Conduct to avoid the back-dating of higher rates of interest to the inception of a loan, should a client go into default. This new amendment will help to further ensure that no member treats customers unfairly.
Whilst this back-dating practice is known to happen in the bridging industry, this change ensures all ASTL members abide by high standards to ensure fairness for customers.
The new clause states:
C10.1 For the avoidance of doubt, where the Member has a provision that a higher or non-discounted rate be applied in the event of default, then such rate should only be applied from the date of the default or the date of notification to the client, if later and not back-dated to the initial date of advance of the loan.
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The ASTL has a very strict Code of Conduct that all members sign up to as a condition of membership. This covers elements such as Treating Customers Fairly, where all members, regulated or otherwise, must abide by the spirit of the requirements of the FCA. Amongst other things, it also covers the way any complaints should be handled and dictates the need for transparency in the way that fees are charged.
Benson Hersch, CEO of the ASTL, says “The ASTL sets very high standards. This is to provide brokers with the assurance that their clients will be benefit from high standards of ethics and transparency when dealing with an ASTL member.
“This includes not issuing terms nor charging fees where the lender does not reasonably expect to provide finance; bringing to the customer’s attention all costs and fees to be charged and treating both customers and all other third parties at all times fairly and courteously.
“The new clause in our Code of Conduct just helps to eliminate any thought of bad practice and raise our standards still higher. Any lender found not abiding by these will risk being expelled from the Association.”