Bank Agrees “Commercial Settlement” Over Shared Appreciation Mortgage (SAMs) Products

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Bank Agrees “Commercial Settlement” Over Shared Appreciation Mortgage (SAMs) Products

Author: Martin Cox

Key Contact: Aisha Wardell

Many of the customers who were sold so-called Share Appreciation Mortgages (SAMs) by Barclays Bank and Bank of Scotland (BoS)  in the late 1990s will undoubtedly have been awaiting, with interest, the outcome of a six-week trial that was scheduled to take place in January/February 2024.

In short, BoS was set to defend a large group action brought by 160 former and current BoS SAMs customers (or their personal representatives, bearing in mind many of those who were sold SAMs are now sadly deceased).

The claimants in that case were arguing that the relationship created between them and the bank by the SAMs loans were “unfair” and sought an order from the court to strike or vary the terms of the SAMs.

What were SAMs?

SAMs were marketed and sold by Barclays and BoS predominantly to elderly homeowners. In return for an immediate release of up to 25% of the equity in their loan to the customer, customers typically were required to sign over 75% of the future appreciation in the value of their home to the bank, repayable upon redemption (typically upon the death of the homeowner or the sale of the house for the homeowner to to move into care). 

Given the significant house price inflation that has occurred since the late 1990s, this has meant that, on top of repaying the loan itself (and in some cases, interest), many customers have been, or will be required to, repay staggering sums back to banks that dwarf the size of the original loan taken out and have left many effectively trapped in their home, unable to afford to move.

As the publicised group action against BoS was settled by Barclays on the eve of trial (a separate group action brought against Barclays is also reported to have settled in 2021), there remains no binding judicial precedent on the “fairness” of the SAMs. However, the bank’s “commercial settlement” of the claims will not have gone unnoticed by thousands of other SAMs customers (or their personal representatives) who have not been involved in the settled claims. As reported in the Guardian, the fact of a commercial settlement in these claims “may suggest the affected borrowers would not have agreed to forgo their day in court unless they secured a reasonable payout.”

We may be able to help you challenge your SAM

If you have or had a shared appreciation mortgage (or are the personal representative of someone who did) please get in touch with our team at mortgages@acuitylaw.com for advice on whether we may be able to assist you with a claim (noting that there are time limits within which any claim must be brought).

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