A number of clients who currently hold CAM bank mortgages and are in arrears have recently received letters in the UK from a lawyer firm telling clients that should they fail to bring the mortgage up to date it is possible CAM Bank may pursue assets in the UK.
Whilst clearly the bank has the right to try in anyway they see fit to ensure the mortgage arrears are cleared these tactics; without also offering workable payments solutions for clients in difficulties; is harsh and possibly misleading.
Whilst it is true that ultimately should they be left with an outstanding debt CAM can technically look to the UK to recover money (so no client should ignore the possibility) the process and facts are less black and white.
Firstly, the process of repossessing the property would have to happen and then the property would have to be sold to crystallise the actual debt outstanding. This can take years.
Secondly, whilst it may be true that in its distressed state the property will not reach the amount outstanding; to pursue a UK residents assets to fill this shortfall would require UK court action.
Logic says that unless the bank is clear the client has sufficient net asset wealth in the UK; where another lender does not already have a first charge; and that the loan level outstanding is sufficiently high enough to make the cost and time of going through UK courts worthwhile even CAM bank will not add to their woes by pursuing further small outstanding amounts through a long legal process in the UK.
It would also be difficult although not impossible to see a UK court agreeing to their action when most clients have had little or no advice upfront into exactly what they were signing at outset and where the bank took no steps to ensure this was the case. CAM rarely or never offer workable solutions to clients to assist in keeping up payments like offering a term of interest only, a minimum payment for an agreed set time’ or a payment holiday as would be expected of UK lender which again would not work in their favour.
In the UK lenders are expected to have demonstrated they have done everything within their power to avoid getting to the point of court action and are heavily criticised if this is not the case.
CAM’s solution to their own problem; which has occurred because they of all banks in Spain took on risky non resident lending at high loan to purchase prices, undertook poor due diligence on documentation and left many lending decisions in the hands of branch managers who were only targeted on sales is to threaten rather than negotiate and worse than that threaten something that they know will cause severe stress and concern to their clients but in reality is unlikely action they will take.
Of all the enquiries, we get for re-mortgages 75% of them come from existing CAM bank mortgagees which sums up how poor across all elements of customer service CAM is.
My advice would be do not ignore the letter and take your own legal advice immediately if you are in arrears.
If you are not in arrears but fed up with CAM’s lack of service look to change to another lender where costs of move are covered; like the Halifax Switch and Save.