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Society of Professional
Mortgage Arrears
Counsellors

The voice for the profession of
        Mortgage Arrears Counselling

COUNSELLING REFERRAL GUIDELINES

Background and guidance for Mortgage Arrears Counsellors to refer borrowers to Money Advisers based in advice centres (face to face and telephone helplines)

  1. A Counsellor will visit the home of a borrower who is in arrears with their mortgage payments on the instructions of their lender to make contact and where possible to assess the viability of loan repayments and any offers which can be made.
  2. The Counsellor will prepare a sustainable Income and Expenditure statement with the borrower(s) to identify if a repayment plan can be agreed, the outcome of the visit will be referred back to the lender who instructed the Counsellor regarding the account. The lender will then write to the borrower to accept or confirm the offer.
  3. After the home visit the Counsellor will provide a written report to the lender confirming any details discussed at the visit and a copy is sent to the borrower if requested. At every visit the Counsellor will leave the household with a copy of the NHAS leaflet.
  4. Where the Counsellor identifies debt problems or the potential for welfare benefits or other advice required they will either, signpost the household to an Advice Agency (subject to local or national provision) or where an agreement is in place with any lender make a referral to a specific Agency. If the borrower has requested and received a copy of the report prepared by the Counsellor then they can share this information with the money Adviser or where a direct referral arrangement exists between the Counsellor and the Advice Agency they can authorise the report to be sent to the Adviser direct.
  5. Subject to preference and availability, the borrower can either access a local face to face money advice provider or telephone helpline advice.
  6. When contacted the Advice Agency Adviser will review the budget as prepared by the Counsellor and complete an income maximisation process, rescheduling of other debts, negotiating with creditors or supporting the borrower to do this, the Adviser will make sure the lender has exhausted any hardship options available.
  7. Once money advice has been provided if the Counsellor's budget is not in line with the money advisers Income and Expenditure sheet, the Adviser may contact the lender with the borrowers consent to discuss and review any agreements made with the lender as appropriate or advise on other options for the borrower e.g. Mortgage Rescue Scheme, Homeowners Mortgage Support, Support for Mortgage Interest, etc.
  8. The Money Adviser will provide the borrower with confirmation by an advice letter confirming the next steps and any agreements made with the lender.