Nationwide is the latest building society to join the Equity Release Council (The Council) following its introduction to the lifetime mortgage market.
This move demonstrates Nationwide’s support for the standards, guidance and rules that are fundamental to the equity release market and the distribution of products to consumers.
Products include a ‘no negative equity guarantee’; guaranteed fixed or capped rate of interest for lifetime loans; homeowner’s right to stay in their property with no obligation to make regular payments; and the right to independent, face-to-face legal guidance as part of the decision-making progress.
With a range of product options available and growing flexibility, the announcement comes at a time when homeowners over 55 are increasingly required to use their housing wealth to support their finances in the future.
Some £824 million of property wealth was acquired via equity release plans in Q3 2017, up by 44% year-on-year from £572 million in Q3 2016. According to Nationwide, new customer numbers also rose 34% from 7,414 to 9,905 over the same period.
With this development, lending activity in the market is on its way to record double-digit growth for the sixth successive year.
“We are delighted to announce Nationwide has become a member of The Council and welcome its commitment to the standards and safeguards that are fundamental to consumer confidence in today’s market,” said Nigel Waterson.
The chairman of the Equity Release Council says this development will bring more choice to an innovative market where consumers’ product choices have doubled in the last three years.
He continued: “It will also help to raise general awareness among UK homeowners about equity release as a mainstream option to consider as part of their later life financial plans.”
The commitment to promoting high quality products and advice has created a safe and reliable equity release market for homeowners to access their housing wealth for a range of purposes, according to the chairman.
Waterson said: “The changing landscape of retirement in the UK increasingly calls for a joined-up approach across different areas of financial services, so people can make decisions based on all their available savings and assets.”
“We welcome this latest sign of closer links between the residential and lifetime mortgage markets,” he continued. “Housing equity is often people’s greatest asset and should be on everyone’s checklist to consider as a potential source of finance in later life,” he said.