Treasury committee readies itself for inquiry into availability of mortgages

THE TREASURY committee will this week begin its inquiry into mortgage arrears and the availability of home lending, as part of its ongoing series of evidence sessions on the banking crisis.<br /><br />The influential group of MPs, led by Labour&rsquo;s John McFall, is seeking evidence on the extent of the mortgage arrears problem, including information on how many borrowers are in arrears and whether there is sufficient financing on offer for them.<br /><br />The committee will take evidence tomorrow from industry bodies including the British Bankers&rsquo; Association, the Building Societies Association and the Council of Mortgage Lenders, as well as homeless charity Shelter and the Citizens&rsquo; Advice Bureau.<br /><br />A second session, scheduled for 7 July, will see the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and City minister Lord Myners give evidence on their role in liaising with banks and building societies over home lending.<br /><br />The committee will pay particular attention to the discrepancies between lenders in how they treat customers in arrears, as well as institutions which specialise in sub-prime lending. FSA officials will be quizzed on the effectiveness of the City watchdog&rsquo;s guidelines on repossession, while the government&rsquo;s schemes to support homeowners will also come under the spotlight.