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Charities back FSA loan rules

Banks and building societies must not be allowed to return to the irresponsible lending practices of the past that caused misery for thousands of homeowners, two charities said yesterday.

Citizens Advice and Shelter said they supported the Financial Services Authority's proposals to introduce tough income and affordability checks on mortgage borrowers.

The planned new rules have caused controversy, with the Council of Mortgage Lenders warning that the regime would have an impact on 45% of people who took out a mortgage this year.

But in a letter to Housing Minister Grant Shapps, the two charities said failing to permanently stamp out reckless lending would be a "missed opportunity" and a potentially "costly mistake".

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said its bureaux saw 115,000 problems last year relating to mortgage and secured loan arrears.

"We see ongoing problems resulting from vulnerable borrowers given mortgages they could never have afforded to pay from the outset or once the discounted periods ended," she said.

Kay Boycott, director of campaigns, policy and communications at Shelter, added: "From our research we know that millions of people are already struggling with their mortgage payments and every two minutes someone faces the prospect of losing their home.

"We urge the Government to support the FSA's proposals."