HSBC will reverse a controversial decision to only allow solicitors on its own approved list to act on its behalf in mortgage applications, after borrowers complained it was slowing down sales.

Since January, the bank has only let fewer than 50 solicitors and conveyancers act for the lender.

But from August, it will accept all solicitors accredited with the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) mark from the Law Society, which represents the profession.

Where a CQS-accredited solicitor works on their own, they will only be able to handle a deal where the mortgage value is up to £150,000, though this level is due to rise before the end of the year.

There is no cap on the mortgage amount for CQS-accredited firms with more than one member of staff.

Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson says: "The Law Society and its members have campaigned for this change in the interests of solicitors' home-buying clients since HSBC introduced its original panel."

Borrowers can currently use any solicitor to act on their behalf, but they must pay £160+ VAT for an HSBC-approved firm to complete the work on the lender's behalf.

From August, applicants can still use any solicitor for themselves but will have to pay the same fee for a solicitor not on the approved panel or not CQS-accredited.

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