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ombudsman news

issue 15

March 2002

about this issue of ombudsman news

We start with the "hot topic" of dual variable mortgage rate cases. In previous issues of ombudsman news, we promised to say more about these once we had issued some final decisions. We have now decided "lead" cases involving three lenders, and our decisions are summarised in this issue.

Contrary to some reports, we have not said that lenders cannot have more than one variable rate. The cases concerned how the mortgage terms of borrowers who took out their mortgage when there was only a single standard variable rate should be interpreted, when the lenders subsequently introduced more than one rate.

the banking and loans assessment team

Members of the banking and loans assessment team with ombudsman, David Millington (back row far right). Peter Bristow (centre front) describes his work as an assessment team caseworker.

We also focus in this issue on the caseworkers in our assessment team - who resolve the majority of cases in the banking and loans division. We illustrate their work with summaries of some typical cases they have resolved.

We are required to reach our decisions on the basis of what is fair in the circumstances - taking into account any relevant law, regulations or code and, where applicable, what we consider to have been good industry practice at the time. In this context, the Banking Code can be important. So we conclude this issue with the submission we made to the Code's independent reviewer.

David Thomas
principal ombudsman
banking and loans division

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.