Lloyds Bank has announced that they will be reviewing their conveyancing panel with a view to removing firms who have conducted low numbers of transactions. Click here to view the full report in the Law Gazette published on 26 July 2010.
They will be looking at firms who have conducted a low number of conveyancing transactions, however, any ongoing cases may continue. The panel is still open to new applicants to apply to join. Firms will be contacted over the next month.
The Lloyds group will then look to cut further conveyancing firms from the panel using a ‘risk based’ model which will enable it to assess firms on an individual basis.
Paul Marsh of the Law Society commented:
"The Law Society is disappointed to learn of these decisions by Lloyds Banking Group but recognises that like any client, they are entitled to choose which firms they instruct.
We will continue to engage with the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Building Societies Association and individual lenders encouraging them to recognise that a “one-size-fits-all” model is not the best way to address lenders’ concerns in the current economic climate. "
Many conveyancers will recall that Abbey National (now Santander) did the same thing during the recession and a large number of firms were removed from their panel. Many firms were up in arms about the decision to remove them and were successful in applying to be reinstated.
On a practical level, it will mean that any conveyancers or conveyancing solicitors who are not on the Lloyds panel will be unable to undertake any work where the mortgage is provided by Lloyds, so they will have to know from their client at the very outset who the lender is to be. The Lloyds group includes Lloyds TSB, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Birmingham Midshires, and, therefore, the group provide a very large number of mortgages in connection with conveyancing transactions. I would imagine, that, as before with Abbey, many firms will challenge any such decision to remove them from the lender’s panel and will apply to be reinstated since they stand to lose a lot of business if they do not.
Simon Seaton of Fridaysmove commented, "We are currently members of the Lloyds Banking Group panel and as we provide reasonable numbers of transactions we fully expect to remain so. We are currently seeking clarification about the review and look forward to being contacted by Lloyds as announced. Should any existing or future customer be concerned they should ring us on 033 0660 0286. "