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‘No job, no problem’ lender targets unemployed borrowers

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Written by: Samantha Partington
27/07/2016
A lender, advertising loans to the unemployed with the slogan ‘No job, not a problem’ has been highlighted as operating without authorisation.

On its website, Unemployed Loans states: “We are not based in the UK, by being based abroad we are able to make our own decisions. One of those decisions is to bring back Self Cert mortgages.”

The loan company is part of a network of sites which includes www.selfcert.co.uk which offers mortgages with no income checks and is affiliated to short-term lender, Quick Loans.

In a warning to consumers issued today by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the regulator said it believed the firm had been providing financial services or products in the UK without its authorisation, advising consumers to only deal with authorised firms.

We spoke to Quick Loans founder Graeme Wingate about his latest loan venture and the FCA’s comments. Wingate said Unemployed Loans had not started to contact any customers yet because it was waiting for an FCA case manager to review the application for the firm to be added to Quick Loans’ permissions to trade.

He said the numbers listed on the FCA’s website were from a fraudulent source, and at present Unemployed Loans remained dormant while its application was assessed.

Wingate said, if approved, it would operate inside the UK, and had made the statement about its location to ‘keep the FCA off his back’.

The loans will be offered to customers intending to go back to work, and when asked about proof, Wingate said ‘we’ll have to take their word for it’.

On its website, it said it claims to be “pushing the boundaries of market innovation”.

Founder Wingate was responsible for setting up the controversial lender selfcert.co.uk, based outside the UK.

Self-cert mortgages, predominantly aimed at the self-employed where income is not verified, effectively became banned under the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) in 2014. Since then, affordability checks have become mandatory in the UK.

Wingate set up his self-cert operation in Prague to avoid the affordability regulations.

The company has issued a defiant statement on its web page which states ‘regulatory bodies telling us who we can and can’t lend to are always a concern’.

Its target borrowers are those who don’t have a regular job, retired customers, borrowers going back to work and employees on zero-hour contracts. It says the absence of a regular income is not a problem and the individual should be the one who decides if they would benefit from the credit.

A spokesperson from the FCA said: “If you take out a mortgage offered from outside the UK under the ECD (Electronic Commerce Directive), you will lose important UK consumer protection benefits, such as the right to refer complaints to the UK’s Financial Ombudsman Service and to be treated fairly when facing payment difficulties.”

Wingate said he submitted his application to the FCA in March and was told it could take up to 12 months to assess.

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