I'm seeking some advice/direction from you for my mother following my fathers death in 2014. Her mortgage started in 2002 and was called a Natwest Foundations Mortgage, it was effectively an arranged credit line that allowed you to borrow up to the value of the property and pay off extra amounts when suited. Natwest withdrew this product and started locking peoples money in, there was widespread complaint online about this. At this time from research, many customers moved to other products offered by the bank however my father insisted he was staying on the product. Still to this day that mortgage is in place, it reached the 14 year term in 2015 and has rolled on a SVR extension for 3.5 years...
I have drafted for my mother with her consent, the issues that she has with her mortgage. Some advice and direction would be greatly appreciated.
Issue 1 - Natwest Payment Protector sold as Life Insurance with Mortgage
Foundations Mortgage Account taken in 2002 – This was done 100% at home by an Natwest advisor called XXXXXX XXXXX. We have hand written letters that were included in the SAR that show this. Natwest say that they have no records to indicate he ever worked within the company. I feel this is crucial to my complaint as XXXXX XXXXX completed the mortgage with myself and husband at home and advised us on everything. We were advised we had to take a life insurance product called ‘Natwest Payment Protector’ in order for the mortgage to go ahead.
From the beginning of the mortgage up until my husband’s death in July 2014, we were led to believe that the Natwest Payment Protector was Life Insurance on the house. It is proven that this is what we believed as when my husband had his first heart attack in May 2008, he contacted Natwest to try and freeze the account. At no point did he use the Natwest Payment Protector whilst sick, which is apparently what it was for! We both were led to believe this was Life Insurance. At this point, I am upset that Natwest did not inform us what this product actually did - If they had, it would have covered the payments whilst he was sick and also would have made us aware of the product they had mis-sold at a time when we could have done something about it. This has had a huge financial effect on myself.
Natwest have produced after many letters to the bank, a document with my husbands signature agreeing to the costs and benefit of the NatWest Payment Protector… This was not signed by myself nor do I believe my husband signed this understanding what it was he was signing – I stress, the Natwest advisor forcibly made us take this product as part of the ‘deal’ and this product was ‘Life Insurance.’
Issue 2 - Failing to supply information under SAR
My initial SAR request was handled carelessly and was to say the least, incomplete. It was missing huge amounts of information and the majority of what was sent was not legible.
I complained about this and specifically requested it to be resent as well as information pertinent to the mortgage to be sent. Following this second request – there is still clearly information missing.
Issue 3 - The original mortgage agreement/contract and terms and conditions
Despite two subject access requests being submitted a Natwest complaints handler has informed me that – quote ‘A further search has been completed by the Mortgage Operations Centre and they have been unable to locate a copy of your original mortgage offer’. I find this un-acceptable and ask on what grounds this mortgage is enforceable under the CCA between 2006 and 2016?
Further to this, despite two subject access requests and specifically asking via letter to the Chief Exec’s office on more than one occasion Natwest have failed to supply the original ‘Terms & Conditions’ of the mortgage. Nor have I been supplied a reason as to why these are not available. In fact, since asking for this information shortly after my husband passed away in July 2014 I have not seen any paperwork produced by Natwest that form an ‘agreed mortgage contract’ nor an ‘agreed credit arrangement’.
Issue 4 - Status of mortgage agreement during the years 2002 to 2018 leading to issues surrounding compliance of the CCA in 2006 and FCA Regulations at the ‘supposed’ end of term.
My understanding from recent research is that this mortgage is a pre-2004 First Charge Mortgage that was unregulated when put in to place in 2002.
2002 – 2006 Between these years the mortgage should have complied with the CCA, however from research it seems like the £25,000 barrier stops this from being required… In the Natwest supplied SAR upon opening the loan, I find it very convenient that there is a column entitled CCA (Consumer Credit Act) – marked with ‘NO’. I would like this explained to me as the bank deemed this important information to record however I was never informed of a regulatory body nor law that would be/become important… Is this a fair relationship?
2006-2016 Between these years the CCA was amended significantly and as this loan is a pre-2004 first charge mortgage, from my understanding it was subject to compliance with the CCA between 30th March 2006 and 21st March 2016 when the mortgage becomes regulated by the FCA – see PS17/6. During this period, several compliance failings occurred however two of which I feel are significantly important:
Failure to send NOSIA – At no point was a specified notice of sums in arrears sent, by trawling through statements I can see that this should have happened several times. The first of which took within the 2006 onwards period is May 2008. Failure to do this would make the agreement 'unenforceable' until notice is given.
Failure to send Annual Statements – None sent. Failure to do this would make the agreement 'unenforceable' until notice is given.
During this period of time, my husband had passed away and I was completely unaware that the bank had these obligations to me. Further to this, I made several complaints via telephone and in branch as I didn’t even have access to my mortgage account online. Furthermore – I still don’t have access to this online now! (August 2018)
Issue 5 - Product Extension Concerns
June 2015 – August 2018 (Taking into account FCA Regulations enforced on 21st March 2016)
It is my understanding that the verbally agreed extensions following the ‘supposed’ end of term mortgage are subject to the rules and regulations of the FCA now. This loan extension and all monies paid on this ‘extension’ should have been a ‘Regulated Mortgage Contract’ and there should be certain paperwork in place, such as a Loan Contract, Terms & Conditions, Key Facts, Annual Statements etc. There have been serious failings by the bank to comply with FCA regulations during this period.
Thank you for any advice and direction in advance.