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£840,000 fine for mortgage firm

On treatment of customers in arrears, DB Mortgages did not consider customers’ individual circumstances or tell them about the range of options that were available to them, and applied charges that were unfair because they were charged repeatedly or did not accurately reflect the cost of administering an account in arrears.

Margaret Cole, the FSA’s managing director of enforcement and financial crime, said:

"This is the first time that we have taken enforcement action against a firm for irresponsible mortgage lending. Firms need to understand that we will not tolerate lax lending practices and unfair treatment of customers in arrears.

"Firms which fail in their obligations to customers should expect not only a substantial fine but also that they will have to pay back customers who have been disadvantaged by their failings”.

The FSA has taken into account that DB Mortgages worked in an open and co-operative way with the FSA and has made significant improvements to its arrears handling procedures. As a result of early settlement, the firm also qualified for a 30% discount under the FSA’s settlement discount scheme. Without the discount, the fine would have been £1.2 million.

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