The Santander who stole Christmas

by BN19 Mar 2012

Families looking to take out a mortgage in the U.K. better forget lavish holidays, big Christmas spends or splashing out for the occasional flatscreen TV or new iPad. The nation’s second-largest mortgage lender, Santander, has just put in place new lending criteria that would see borrowers turned down for a mortgage if the bank deemed their one-off spends as too extravagant. The Spanish-based bank has sent new forms out to brokers asking borrowers to provide information not only on regular expenditures like bills and credit card payments, but irregular expenditures like subscriptions, holidays, miscellaneous goods and services, religious festivals and birthdays. Santander has been lashed by consumer groups and brokers over the move, who have pointed out that people tend to cut down on extravagant purchases when they have a mortgage to pay. The bank claimed it had been checking one-off spends like this for years, but industry analysts argued that the more onerous restrictions on things like gift-buying and overseas travel were entirely new policies for the lender. Oh, and borrowers aren’t allowed to enter a zero for irregular expenditures, lest they want their application rejected offhand. Santander defended the move, saying it would allow them to form a more accurate view of borrowers’ expenditure. Regardless, Insider would put money that whoever came up with this policy will be visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.