UK Mortgage Prisoners

Reflecting On A Week Of Change 2019

The week of change was a series of social media posts that the group shared on Twitter. We all made a concerted effort to share and like these key subjects. Over the next few weeks, we will revisit the points raised and look a little bit closer at the rationale behind each one.

Day 2 Set out a clear request to the powers that be:

Redress and Compensation for all Mortgage Prisoners!

“The victims of the highly dubious lending practices of the early 00’s are suffering…They deserve redress”

If you spend time talking to any Mortgage Prisoner you will notice that the conversation follows a remarkably similar pattern. The effects of being stuck in a debilitating and unrecoverable financial situation are huge. The realisation that they have been sold like a commodity to the highest bidder, and that the entity that bought them had no way of re-lending or restructuring that loan, hits hard. Broadly speaking the effects are two-fold:

 Financial:

Most of those caught in the Mortgage Prisoner phenomenon are paying way over the odds for their mortgage. While the rest of the UK has enjoyed a sustained period of low-interest rates (0.25% – 1.5%), the mortgage prisoners have been paying 4.5% and above. Many of us have been tied to our loans for 10 years or more,  meaning overpayments of tens of thousands of pounds compared to the rest of the market. While Mortgage Prisoners are often painted as second rate, subprime customers, the truth is that these loans have been the most profitable the industry has ever seen! Most Mortgage Prisoners remain up to date with their mortgage payments. Those that have slipped behind have very often caught up. Only a few have sunk under the pressure. Yet, time and time again, we are seen as some kind of second rate citizen.

The Government sold these loans to non-lenders because the non-lenders paid the most. Who wouldn’t, given the ridiculous terms surrounding these loans? They represent the best value for money an investment company could ever find!

But at what cost?

Human Cost:

The largely unspoken cost is the physical and mental toll these situations have placed on the Mortgage Prisoners. Many are hesitant to share this side of the story, understandably so. We know from our conversations with members of the group that this cost is very real…

Mortgage prisoners have an unusually high rate of:

Family breakups and problems

Mental Health issues including depression,  stress, anxiety and suicidal thoughts

Physical manifestations including Strokes, Chest pains and heart-related issues.

We are often very private about this side of the issue, but there is a very real epidemic happening as a direct result of the inhumane and cruel treatment we have suffered a the hands of these faceless corporations. We have been harassed, bullied and squeezed. Endless phone calls at all times of the day and night. Letters with a threatening tone, often when we are in the process of discussing solutions. Spoken to with complete disrespect and a dismissive and condescending tone of voice.

the following is a verbatim quote from a call handler who rang one of our members at 8:30 in the morning after they had already spoken to someone at 7:30 PM the (Sunday) night before & sorted the issue…

Mortgage Prisoner (Male 47yo, Distressed and in tears):

“Why are you ringing me again? I have been through this last night!! It’s 8:30 in the morning, please…stop ringing me”!  

Call handler: (After having made the customer go through security protocol again, including details of the mortgage, the amount of arrears on the unsecured element and asking questions about an ex-partner who had left 8 years previously)

“Look. You only have yourself to blame. Let’s be honest, if you had paid your mortgage on time like everyone else, you wouldn’t have this problem would you” 

The mortgage payment had failed to go through due to a card system error…

Is this the way people should be treated? We deserve compensation for being sold like cattle to the highest bidder and treated like dirt.