Money Grouse: Mortgage cut not passed on

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The Independent Online
FLAT owner Adrian Cole, of Forest Gate, London, was expecting a reduction in his monthly mortgage payments when the interest rate dropped from 8.55 to 7.99 per cent this month.

He was peeved to discover that his lender, Nationwide Building Society, decided that the reduction was so small - 89p a month - that it would only drop the payments if he made a specific request.

The society has a policy of not changing standing orders and direct debits on variable payment mortgages unless the monthly fall is more than pounds 2.

All changes are reflected in alterations to annually reviewed payments.

A spokesman for Nationwide said that when the interest rate rose payments would always be increased, however small the change, because otherwise the borrowers would see their outstanding debt rise.

It felt that borrowers would not like to see their payments failing to keep pace.

But when interest rates fell the overpayment would be reflected in a lower debt when the annual calculation was done.

The society felt this was acceptable to borrowers.

Mr Cole does not object to Nationwide's policy, but he criticises the way that it put the information across.

His annual statement gives his old payment with interest rates at 8.55 per cent as pounds 88.30 a month and his new payment with rates at 7.99 per cent as pounds 88.30, with no explanation why the payment has remained unaltered.

The society says this information would have been supplied in December at the time of the announcement of the drop in interest rates with a note that borrowers could apply for a reduction in repayments if they wished.

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