Sunday, 20 April 2014

Is the Welcome Mat Gone from the HSBC Conveyancing Panel?

Two years after complaints from customers and lawyers forced HSBC to ditch its controversial plan to drastically reduce their conveyancing panel, confusion reigns as to whether the lender's panel is, in fact, now closed regardless of whether a firm is accredited by the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS).

Recall, HSBC relented and allowed all members of the CQS to act for it and the borrower in the legal work needed to buy a property. The decision increased the number of firms that consumers can choose from to more than 2,500 lawyers.

The question on whether HSBC's door is shut to additional solicitors was raised by Council for Licensed Conveyancers CEO Sheila Kumar.  On whether the HSBC conveyancing panel is closed to non-CQS firms, she said:

"We've been in very detailed conversations with the HSBC around the messaging and perception of what's being said.  The clear message that we've got is that their panel is closed at the moment, because actually, they've got enough people.  It's not closed, just because of CQS or not CQS.  It's actually that they are not looking for anything.  Our conversation with them has been, that, because we are aware of the fact that there have been some messages at some levels, about if we open the panel again it will only be open to people who have got CQS behind them"

Meanwhile, I have spoken to firms who have been advised that the HSBC conveyancing panel is open. That point was made at the same CLC webinar where Kumar made her comments, as one of the delegates said he'd received a letter also confirming the panel is open.

Neither the CQS or HSBC have made any public comment on whether the HSBC conveyancing panel is open or closed.

We anxiously await some resolution.

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