Three mortgage distributors, Legal & General, Sesame Bankhall Group and SimplyBiz Mortgages, have announced a new collaboration, the Mortgage Climate Action Group.
The group’s aim is to interpret new climate change legislation and engage with industry stakeholders to provide guidance and practical help for advisers, ensuring they are well-equipped to support UK consumers, as efforts to tackle climate change cause a shift in mortgage lending.
The group says that policies to tackle climate change are vital, but they also have the potential to make mortgages less accessible or even more expensive for some borrowers in the UK. Energy efficiency is also playing an increasingly important role for advisers in securing mortgages for their customers. As such, the Mortgage Climate Action Group says it will act as a source of support for intermediaries, helping them to understand and address green issues when dealing with mortgage applications, and ensuring that advisers’ interests are represented among lenders, regulators, trade bodies and government institutions.
The three companies, which accounted for more than £169bn worth of gross lending in 2021, have already begun working with lenders and the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI). They are urging others across the industry to support the initiative in its aims to raise awareness of the green agenda, deliver education and effect positive change in the mortgage sector.
The latest figures from BEIS suggest that the residential sector accounts for nearly 21% of the country’s CO2 emissions, and according to the ONS, fewer than half of homes in England and Wales are rated EPC C or higher.
Michele Golunska, CEO, Sesame Bankhall Group, said: “Climate change action is clearly a bigger issue than housing and mortgages alone, however new legislative changes will radically alter consumer options and choices in mortgage lending. Mortgage advisers play a critical role in helping customers secure what is likely to be their largest ever purchase. We are focused on ensuring they are robustly supported to do so.”
Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, added: “Climate change is a hugely important issue that will affect all of us, and as we in the mortgage market play our part in the mission to tackle global warming, we also need to understand the impact that any changes, from legislation to lending, could have on the sector.
“We believe that collaboration will be key to addressing this hugely important issue. We have already been working closely with lenders and will soon be able to deliver educational content, available as structured CPD pieces, centred on supporting the advice journey. But our aims extend beyond sharing practical guidance alone, and we are committed to ensuring advisers’ interests are represented among various government and trade bodies, while helping intermediary businesses develop their own sustainability guidelines. Our hope is that the industry will be inspired by our initiative, and we wholeheartedly welcome those who would like to join us in addressing this challenge.”
Richard Merrett, head of strategic development, SimplyBiz Mortgages, concluded: “This is about ensuring that advisers have a voice and are supported in playing their part in raising awareness. We hope to create a positive culture around identifying the issues impacting consumers and giving clarity to advisers around what is entering their world, so they have greater opportunities to demonstrate expertise and advise on actions with their clients.”
Anyone interested in getting involved or finding out more should speak to their normal contact at either of the three distributors, direct with Michele, Richard, or Kevin, or with their own distributors who are encouraged to join.