Sunday, 4 October 2020

The Pandemic Induced Panel Cull

Research by a peer to peer lending platform Sourced Capital has found that the UK property market could see a double-digit rate of property value decline, with the market taking over five years to recover, while the number of property repossessions could also soar as a result of a COVID-19 induced recession.  

It is too early to know if we are about to return to the late 80s with huge repossession numbers or whether lenders actually take a more pragmatic view. It would seem that even the more optimistic of commentators expect the repossession market to re-emerge.

If such a prediction comes to pass it will be destructive for conveyancing firms.

Lenders will not swallow their losses happily. For conveyancers, that means a tsunami of file reviews because lawyers are an easy target for a lender looking to offset a loss – or pass it on altogether. Any failure by the lawyer to comply with the letter of their mortgage instructions – typically based on the lenders’ handbook – will be pounced upon. It’s possible that history will repeat itself. In 1997 the Law Society declared that solicitors were left to carry the can when things went wrong, with lenders behaving like “ravenous wolves” when pursuing claims through the courts.

Firms will be removed from lender panels or fail to find a PI insurer, which amounts to the same thing. The net result is fewer conveyancing law firms. Strong risk assurance embedded in a firm’s everyday practice can put those worries to rest.

Ask yourself whether you have ever considered a pre-lender compliance audit. Many firms make enormous efforts to ensure their client Ts and Cs and website copy are compliant, but don’t take the trouble to check on lender compliance. Yet the consequences for a firm tripping up on lender Handbook requirements can be fatal to a law firm.

It’s not just about peace of mind. A lender compliance audit can bring real value to your firm. A third-party firm acting in the same way a lender would can uncover issues and knowledge gaps that you can address to make your conveyancing processes more rigorous.

In this day and age of increased accountability and regulatory requirements, audits should be welcomed, not feared. If you’d like to find out more about how Lexsure’s lender compliance audit can assist your firm please contact

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Nationwide Update – Release of Funds

Possibly due to the increasing trend of exchanging and completing simultaneously, Nationwide  Building Society have issue the following update to lawyers concerning fund requests:

Help us to continue to help you & our members…

Due to unprecedented volumes, we are implementing an earlier cut-off for same-day funds requests. 

From 25/06/20 up to and including 01/07/2020, we will be unable to accept same-day requests for funds after 10 am on Lender Exchange.

As a reminder, our normal practice is to release mortgage advance monies electronically via BACS transfer to your chosen bank account rather than by CHAPS. For this we require at least five working days’ notice of the completion date.

If funds are required in less than five days, please see the offer special condition (Charge for transferring the loan to the conveyancer).

Any requests for funds with less than 48 hours’ notice will continue to be assessed but are not guaranteed.

Please continue to help us by providing as much notice as possible.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

A Moment to Feel Like an Artist

In being a software architect designing products for lawyers I can't be certain that all the effort poured into a creation will be appreciated. 

The same is surely true or a painter or song writer. Do they 'know' for sure what will be successful? 

As a creative person it's easy to get disheartened about the lack of applause and upside immediately after you have created something.
In looking to the outside world for valuation and recognition for Lexsure's products I readily admit to worrying about appreciation and validation. 

Last night I received two emails in the space of half an hour concerning Lexsure's report on title technology (e-ROT).

Here's an extract of an email trail with a lawyer after advising that her account will go live soon. No doubt she was attracted by the time saving aspects of the software: 

Lawyer :


Right now I am just preparing a report on title and making a note of specific enquiries to be raised for a purchase on which my client wants to exchange next week and complete on the 4th July so its rather urgent and I am still not in receipt of all search results but plugging away so I am not caught out. This will take a good 3-4 hours out of my evening and I have not yet gone down for lunch so dinner will be a pass.


So when I said in the webinar 'for many lawyers the Report on Title encroaches on personal time' you really knew what I meant :-) 


Living embodiment Simon 

In the second email a lawyer simply said: 

I think it is an amazing product and a Godsend!!

A long way to go but happy to take the applause for now. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Why even a prophet of doom can be comforting

[From two years ago, even more relevant right now]

I’m a specialist in risk, so I can sometimes be accused of being a little conservative in outlook, even for a lawyer. But I suspect that this blog post will have some lawyers reaching for their thesaurus to find stronger words, like “worrier”, “pessimist” or even “doom-monger”.
I’m sticking my neck out today to predict that within the next few years there will be a dramatic increase in lender file audits. Reaching for my own thesaurus, I’ll go for a “tsunami”. It will be destructive. Many firms will be removed from lender panels or fail to find a PI insurer, which amounts to the same thing. Once the waters recede, there will be fewer conveyancing law firms.
As with the mythical Cassandra of Troy, I’m predicting that I’ll be roundly ignored and then proved right. Although unlike Cassandra, I hope to avoid insanity. And living as a king’s concubine.
There are a number of reasons why lender file audits are on the increase and are set to be more prevalent:
  • In times of economic stability or growth, cases where lender requirements have been breached are usually masked by rising house prices, as mortgage lenders are able to recoup the value of the secured property following repossession. However, when prices fall, lenders will turn to professional negligence claims to make up their losses. 
  • We are already witnessing a correction in the market. However small the changes are, some borrowers will quickly find themselves in dire straits. Payment holidays eventually come to an end. 
  • Lenders will definitely not, it won’t surprise you, swallow their losses without a care in the world. For conveyancers, that means file reviews because lawyers are an “easy target” for a lender looking to offset a loss – or pass it on altogether.
So, let’s say I’ve not yet convinced you that doom is-a-coming? What’s the downside to taking some action now to ensure your conveyancing practice is as rigorous as you’d like a lender’s lawyers to think it is? Any reason not to run an LM04 policy search before you submit any COT?

And if I have convinced you… what actions can you take?

Strong risk assurance embedded in your firm’s everyday practice can nullify those worries. The best way of checking that you risk management is robust is to use an independent third party to run a lender compliance audit.
If you’d like to find out more about how Lexsure’s lender compliance audit can assist your firm please contact and hear it straight from the [Trojan] horse’s mouth.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Lexsure Tech goes from Luxury to Necessity

Since 2008  Lexsure’s software solutions have been adopted by over one thousand firms to assist in managing conveyancing risk and automating key documents such as Reports on Title. That being said, until recently, Lexsure products have been perceived  as a ‘great to have’ rather than a ‘must have’. 

Now more than ever, Lexsure’s portfolio of cloud-based tools including it’s pre-completion checklists, COVID -19 Alert Services and LM04 Policy Search are regarded as crucial for a firm’s survival in today’s unprecedented crisis. 

Over 300 law firms in the last three weeks have attended Lexsure’s interactive remote web conferences on how to use the Lexsure products. On-demand training videos have been viewed hundreds of times in the same period.
Conveyancing practices face a new environment. Firms now have extra motivation to explore alternative ways of working and provide new tools to upskill their team with a view to managing emerging risks.  
With remote working also comes an added pressure for COLPs and managers who are tasked with overseeing  and motivating a team from afar. For many firms, Lexsure’s product range is  ideally suited to support remote working not just in terms of oversight, but also in facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing – all of which is more crucial than ever before.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

No Lender Lockdown When it Comes to Handbook Changes

In the last three months Lexsure has witnessed significant activity by lenders changing their Handbook requirements. Whilst firms currently encounter a slowdown in activity from buyers and sellers there is no hold-up in lenders revising their instructions to law firms.
Here are some of the facts and figures:

Sections Changed
Separate Events
Barclays Bank UK PLC
Aldermore Bank 
Coventry Building Society
Atom Bank

During the same period there has been a significant uptake in services such as LENDERmonitor. I can only assume that this is due to anticipated file requests checking for Handbook breaches. Enquiries by firms concerning the LM04 lender policy search increased by 300% compared to the same period last year. 

55% of LM04 searches in the last two months revealed lender changes. The most searched lender was HSBC. 

With the end of the lockdown approaching and with a large number of transactions having been put on hold, there will be an inevitable rush to submit Certificates on Title to lenders. It’s easy to get tripped up and miss a Handbook change. Now is not the time to cause serious and irreparable damage to your firm by failing to identify changes to a lender instructions.