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Information requests to lender panel members

19 August 2019

Most mortgage lenders have a panel of solicitors they can instruct to act for them during the purchase of a property.

Lenders may ask for information about the law firms on their panels. This includes:

  • information about client accounts
  • requests to contact professional indemnity insurers
  • requests for copies of letterheads

This page gives our advice on how to respond to these requests. It’s our view of good practice but it’s not the only standard of good practice that solicitors can follow.

Read the SRA’s ethics guidance on the disclosure of client’s confidential information

Information about client accounts

Do not send the lender any client account statements, and limit the information you give to:

  • the name of your firm’s bank
  • your account number and sort code

You should tell the lender it would be a breach of conduct under the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 for you to provide:

  • details of client accounts
  • blanket authority (formal written consent which gives authority without requiring additional approval) to get this information

Requests to contact professional indemnity insurers 

If a lender asks for blanket authority to access your professional indemnity insurance (PII) information, you should consider limiting the authority to your firm’s:

  • policy
  • schedule
  • practice claim history for the last five years

This is what our Conveyancing Quality Scheme asks for, and it’s considered good practice. CQS membership provides a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practices.

If you do need to send information about your claim history, it’s important to remove any client information before you send it, so you that you do not breach client confidentiality. 

You should also tell your PII insurer that you’ve had this request and ask if there are any requirements or suggestions for wording to limit the authority.

Requests for copies of letterhead

If you send a copy of a blank letterhead, you should put a cross through it in ink. This is important if you’re giving it to a third party and not directly to the lender.

Resources

Our practice note Lender requests for files

Our Practice Advice Service

Disclaimer

This advice is not intended to be legal advice nor will following it necessarily provide a defence to complaints of misconduct or of inadequate professional service.