Complex IT changes force Abbey to restrict mortgage sales as new rules bite

Complex IT changes force Abbey to restrict mortgage sales as new rules bite

UK bank Abbey has been forced to temporarily restrict the number of mortgage products it offers customers as it struggles with far-reaching IT changes entailed by the introduction of new regulations governing the sale of home loans.

Abbey, which is being acquired by Spanish bank Santander, has pulled three of its mortgage products from sale as it prepares for the onset of FSA regulation from Sunday. The UK bank says the necessary changes to IT systems required for marketing its core fixed rate and tracker mortgages went live at the weekend.

In a statement accompanying its interim results presentation, Abbey says: "The remainder of the product range will be reintroduced in the near future, and we are well on track for the FSA's new general insurance regulations, which come into force on 14 January 2005."

The changes to IT systems necessary for compliance with new mortgage regulations in the UK has been likened to the year 2000 date change. Norwich and Peterborough Building has said the systems changes it implemented to cope with the new code cost double what had been expected. Nationwide, the UK's largest building society, claims to have devoted 6000 hours to training staff in preparation for the new standard.

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