Article by Barry Stamp - 27th January 2012

How Mortgage Repossessions Are Reported

The rise and fall of the Possessions Register, previously run by the Committee of Mortgage Lenders (CML), is a good example of how credit reports in the UK are gradually developing into very powerful databases.

In the mid 80s, mortgage providers were being hit hard by serious mortgage fraud. Fraud rings were commonplace. If reported to the Police - there was no Serious Crimes unit in place at the time - it would invariably be too late for the Police to take any effective action, as the horse had well and truly bolted.

Almost in desperation, the Association of Mortgage Lenders was formed with the intention of sharing information about fraud losses. The AML was essentially a ‘credit circle’ – a perfectly lawful way of sharing information to prevent bad debt caused by criminal activities.

The CML adopted this role in a much more structured and formal manner. In 1991, it asked members to report possessions to a central register. This register - the CML Possessions Register - was then added to credit reports but only on the basis that the information could only be accessed by CML members.

A crucial difference between the AML and CML initiatives is that the new register was more about preventing over-indebtedness than about preventing fraud.

In parallel, more and more banks, building societies, specialist lenders and mortgage companies signed up to the credit reference agencies to obtain full payment history on credit reports. As a condition of accessing shared payment data, each had to report the payment history of mortgage borrowers on a monthly basis.

One of the additional pieces of information reported with the monthly payment history was the granting of a Possession Order or the event of a voluntary surrender of a mortgaged property.

This meant that possessions then were reported twice on credit reports. Once in the payment history section, and again in the CML Possessions Register. On 30 June 2010 the CML abandoned and destroyed the CML Possessions Register citing the simple reason that the data was held elsewhere.

Credit reports are a collection of pieces of data held about you from many sources, and have grown from simple roots – by combining the electoral register with court judgment records – to what is now a very comprehensive report which includes things that technically are not credit agreements – such as mobile phone payment records.

There is still a way to go. Many utility records are not contained on credit reports. Payday loans aren’t reported in the detail that many would like. Rates aren’t included on reports, and so on.

There is no doubt though that they will continue to grow and become an event log of most of life’s transactions.

Your credit report is different at each of the credit reference agencies, because lenders do not automatically supply account history data to all three. They may supply one, or two, but only very rarely three. For this reason, the Multi Agency Credit Report from checkmyfile provides more than twice the information than any other credit report. You can see at a glance how your public credit report compares at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion or how your payment history is reported by Equifax and TransUnion.

To trial a subscription to your Multi Agency Credit Report absolutely free for 30 days. After the free trial period, the subscription costs £14.99 per month including free credit scores.

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