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Loan to Property value ratio and PPI

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Don't know whether this lives under secured loans or PPI - its a bit of both.


In 2006 my soon-to-be-ex took out a secured loan against this house, with FirstPlus - in joint names. He was also sold PPI (which we're now reclaiming as he's a contractor).


We're now in negative equity as the mortgage and the secured loan come to about £50k more than the value of the house.


In my recent investigations into any possible ways of getting this sorted out before the divorce I discovered a number of things.


GMAC (mortgage lender) - more than happy to receive additional payments of the mortgage loan amounts and apply those to the account for free with no interest penalties.

Barclays - more than happy to receive additional payments against the loan BUT will charge £60 per payment processed!!!!! AND will apply early repayment interest penalties to the account as well.


Another thing I was investigating was the possibility of taking the loans into my own name - GMAC no problem with this, happy to oblige (for a fee, naturally) BArclays on the other hand, happy to oblige for a (higher) fee but insist on the original loan to property value ratio being the same as originally...and thats when I worked out that when they added the PPI premium and interest to the original loan they'd ALREADY BREACHED the loan to property value ratio they insist on (and therefore in theory could request full or part repayment). :eek: Can this be right? I've asked for all the information, the original paperwork (they never sent us a copy), the original application details and to date all I've got is an illegible photocopy where you can't read the salient points.


Not to mention the interest rate thy're charging 9.2% is a whole 1% HIGHER than when we took the loan out in 2006 and I've no idea why or when that happened! :confused:


Anybody else know what can be done about this, experienced this or got any wise words to guide me on my way into battle? Right now I can't see anyway of getting away from these people in less than 17 years!


I have vowed, if not to get debt free, at least to get Barclays-free in the shortest time possible and by whatever means....and that means reclaiming the PPI and reclaiming the bank fees for starters.

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my most immediate thought when I read your entry was if you can overpay, make sure you give GMAC the money.


With regard to Barclays, I would start by askin them to explain the changes in loan interest rates to you as most of these things tend to be base rate related and that's fallen quite a bit since last year.


You need to know whether or not its some kind of penalty or whether the loan has a stepped repayment plan, you know 12 months at £x, followed by 12 months at £x+ etc.


Most second charge secured loans cost more to reflect the fact that the lenders have less clout in the money queue and many have onerous conditions (if you repay before .... a charge of X% will become payable). I'm also sure that the £60 charge is buried somewhere intheir T&Cs too.


The PPI premium isn't included in the LTV calculation as they are not giving you the money, just deferring repayment over te life of the loan. I wouldn't worry about the breach of conditions as there isn't one, and in any case it was at their end not yours. The need for the original LTV to be maintained is a really cynical way of keeping you in the old agreement.


It may be worth going through that in fine detail to see if it fails a reasonableness test which may make it an unfair contract, but Barclays are usually pretty sharp on these things.


What you should do is request a legible copy of your agrrement so you can at least read the content. I would be confident that there will be a way out of this within 17 years, most of these are loaded with conditions at the front, which ease off after a while.


Hope this helps?

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Thanks for the reply. I'll get the legible copy of T&C's and read through it. As soon as I get the PPI back that will take a chunk off that one too.


I think you're right about giving the money to GMAC, especially if I can get a regular savings account at 3% and then take that money and pay GMAC (2.14%) I might actually start to make some headway!

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If you are with First PLus you need to google firstplus complaints and visit the site there. Many many disgruntled customers and many who are reclaiming PPI premiums along with others challenging the ways in which FP interest rate clause breaches unfair contract term regs. I was recently interviewed for the BBC Moneybox programme and their compliance expert agreed that as things stand the terms on my loan may be deemed unenforceable as the bargain is so one sided in the lenders favour that they can do as they please to customer rates. As a business they are struggling and are manipulating rates to mitigate losses which again is a clear breach of unfair contract terms. NOt quite a specific answer to what you are looking at but you are dealing with a lender where you may need some leverage to help solve the problem you have.

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I heartily concur with Mark here, First Plus are total sh*ts.


From my recollections, about the only things missing from their contracts is a clause which permits them to increase the interest rate if you have a baby or go to Bendorm on holiday, but I could easily have missed that in amongst all the other drivel.


I understand the basic concept of fixed rate mortgages where you have a guarantee for a certain period that the lender won't increase the interest rate. If you want to change it there's a penalty - fair enough.


First Plus have a contract where you face a penalty for overpaying, repaying early or making any other kind of change to the original agreement yet they are free to change rates and levy penalties almost at will.


Surely the very definition of unfair.

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IF you look at Unfair Contract Clauses you will see exactly where FP fall foul and clearly they are insisting they do nothing wrong. However, the evidence points strictly to the contrary. Their saving grace is that they know their industry does not really get specific regulator coverage. FOS don't want to know unless it is PPI or maladministration, the FLA are useless and allowed them to break their code of conduct in dialogue with me, the FSA tried to help as they deal with Unfair Contracts....but not on secured loans so have now passed it on to the OFT!!!!!!!


Below is a summary I put together for someone but it brings out the key points so you can understand exactly where we are coming from on the fairness point and its link to regulation(there are references to FP accounts that I hold but are also available from companies house):


The latest financial accounts for First Plus that underline their activities convince me that you are operating a "one sided bargain" in the application of your interest rate terms to my detriment. Your accounts show:

  • the business is now noted as having "Going Concern" basis and parent co Barclays has had to issue letter of continued support

  • other income (i.e. PPI ) has dropped as the company is no longer offering new loans thus the only source of true income is the difference between interest income and interest expense. Any reference made to remaining "competitive" is thus irrelevant, unless those companies involved are undertaking collective price fixing practices.

  • your own loan funding is linked to Bank Base (as noted in your accounts) and as such has dropped dramatically in the last year

  • you have distanced yourselves as far as possible from linking customer rates to base rates when this was historically the case ( see previously referred to graph attached for FOS)

  • your accounts show you have almost doubled the gap between their interest income and interest cost through the manipulation of your terms. The gap has increased from £53m to £93m and base rate was still at 2% at
    . With BBR now at 0.5% this gap has increased even more as customer rates have not been varied. This is a clear attempt to manipulate terms "to protect profit margins".

  • even with the manipulation you still lost £20m and without it you would have lost in excess of £50m. Barclays has had to inject £9m to maintain liquidity.

  • It is clear you are using the scope within your terms for "commercial
    " to fundamentally manipulate the interest charged to customers to cover their own losses in other areas.

With specific regard to how this breaches Unfair Contract Clause Terms :

  • There is clearly significant imbalance in my rights to my detriment.

  • There is no fair and open dealing as you will not disclose how or why you calculates / changes your rates with any practical application. When customers have asked you directly or via the FLA you simply requote the interest rate clause which is vague and essentially states you can do as you please by applying your "commercial judgement". Your commercial judgement has seen you unable to offer new loans, seen you lose £50m in the last 2 trading years, seen you face a barrage of missold PPI claims ( and have huge provisions in your accounts for the settlement of current claims), seen you be noted now as a Going Concern, seen you have to note Secret Commission allegations, seen you requiring Letter of Support from Barclays who have also had to bail you out to the tune of £9m - I am struggling to come to terms with your ability to apply "commercial judgement" in anything other than a self supporting manner. I note also, Barclays had to amend an investment product with a similar term allowing Barclays to apply "its judgement".

  • Where a term which merely says that variations will only be 'reasonable' or will only be made 'reasonably', is unlikely to be any fairer than one which contains no such qualification, unless there can be little doubt in a reasonable consumer's mind as to what sort of variation, broadly speaking, such wording allows, and in what circumstances.
    Where the criteria of reasonableness are vague, or clearly meant to include the best commercial interests of the business, there will be scope for the supplier to change the bargain unfairly to the detriment of consumers, simply on the basis that he needs to protect his profit margins
    . This is self explanatory and evidenced in the accounts.

  • The compliance expert appointed by the BBC on its recent Moneybox programme noted that there were clear breaches of Unfair Contract Clause terms and as such the enforceability of the loan may be called in to question.

Also mention the notes that concern the secret commission investigation (note 23)

Also note the related party transactions showing the levels of commission income they received (note 25)

Note also the point re interest rate calculation in that any broker commissions paid are paid for by you over the term of the loan and as such are disadvantaged (note 3 p12)

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This is all depressingly interesting - depressing in that I'm not alone, which is nice - misery loves company and all that, but not nice that we're all being treated like a big corporate savings scheme to fund the home for bewildered bankers.....


I've now launched my own flood of letters onto the world of the banks and lenders in a bid to retrieve what I believe is rightfully mine - ESPECIALLY the £23k PPI, which incidentally I only just found out didn't even cover me even though I was named as insured!


But the thing that galls me most is the way I've been treated by Barclays and FP since we took this loan out I've put together a timeline and catalogue of correspondance but god only knows who to send it to...The Chairman? The FOS/OFT/FSA/my MP/the Press? Or just save the postage and stick it straight into my shredder - the sheer incompetence of the people dealing with my questions, queries and complaints astounds me...and its patently obvious that they've lost our paperwork more than once...but who the hell cares at the bank?


Sorry - that was just a rant....

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If they have sold you PPI that doesn't cover you (as the named party) then I suggest that is the best way into this for you.


The unfair contracts bit can come out later, but with the focus on mis-selling right now that's where I'd begin.


Start with a letter of formal complaint to First Plus clearly stating you are accusing them of mis-selling PPI and see where that takes you.

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