Mark Harris: Selfish borrowers asking for unneeded repayment holidays

Jake Carter

March 26, 2020

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Selfish mortgage borrowers are asking for repayment holidays that they do not need financially, according to Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients.

Similarly to people hoarding food and supplies, some borrowers are asking for mortgage payment holidays that they do not need.

As a result, this is putting a strain on banking staff, and making it harder for those who do need a payment holiday to get through, outlined Harris.

He said: “Lenders are throwing all their resources into dealing with payment holiday requests. But in the same way that people are stockpiling food they don’t need, there are selfish borrowers who are asking for payment holidays when they don’t need them.”

With the increased volume of individuals asking for a repayment holiday, this has blocked the phone lines.

Harris added: “Borrowers should ask themselves: can I pay the mortgage this month? If the answer is ‘yes’, then keep off the phone to your lender and let those who do need a payment holiday get through and arrange one.”

Notable with Halifax restricting lending to a maximum of 60% LTV, borrowers may be worried that there is a funding crisis, outlined Harris.

However, he said that “there isn’t, the banks are awash with liquidity. But there are two issues. The first is a processing one – banks are not all set up for staff to work from home.

“The big processing centres are closed and they are operating with a skeleton staff. Those staff that are working are focusing on arranging payment holidays.

“There is also the issue with valuations. A lot of the big lenders will accept desktop valuations but only to a certain LTV.

“As they can’t get a valuer out to inspect the property, it is very difficult to process a mortgage application for a higher LTV.”

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